February 28, 1995 in City

Tribes Ready To File Gambling Initiative

Compiled From Wire Services

An initiative to allow wide-open gambling on Indian reservations in Washington is ready to be filed with state election officials, said a statement issued Monday night on behalf of three tribes.

The statement said the measure contains a provision for some of the gambling revenue to be paid annually to people who have voted in general elections.

Dan Kerrigan of First People Funding Inc., a group financing the effort, said the initiative would be filed today with the secretary of state in Olympia.

News conferences detailing the proposal were planned for today in Seattle and Spokane, Kerrigan said.

The statement said the measure is being proposed by the Spokane, Puyallup and Shoalwater Bay tribes, which commissioned a poll last fall that indicated such a proposal would win approval at the polls.

Herbert M. Whitish, chairman of the Shoalwater Bay tribe in Tokeland, and John Kieffer, vice chairman of the Spokane Tribal Council, were in Seattle and could not immediately be contacted for comment Monday night.

The statement said the measure would allow Indian tribes to operate all forms of gambling - including slot machines, now banned throughout the state but operated in defiance of the ban at the Spokane and Colville casinos - without betting limits or restrictions on hours, size of casinos, number of games or use of player-activated electronic gaming devices.

Tribes operating under the initiative would pay 10 percent of their net revenues from the electronic devices to a fund for distribution annually to people who voted in the most recent general election, the statement said.

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