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Attorneys General Against National Indian Lottery Plan

The nation’s attorneys general on Monday voted for a resolution opposing the national lottery proposed by Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe.

Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. Humphrey III, author of the resolution, said it was the clearest statement to date by states that oppose a national Indian lottery. The action came at the spring meeting of attorneys general in Washington, D.C.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has proposed a lottery in 36 states and the District of Columbia, to be played through the use of toll-free telephone lines and credit cards. Idaho Attorney General Alan Lance has said Idaho has no plans to oppose the Indian lottery.

“This sends a very clear message to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, as well as any other entity, that a national lottery of this type is unacceptable,” Humphrey said. “As the lottery is proposed, I and other attorneys general believe it is illegal.”

The tribe and its attorneys emphatically maintain that the lottery is legal.

Construction is under way on a two-story telephone center near the tribe’s Worley bingo hall. The tribe expects to begin hiring 300 workers in a week. The game is endorsed by the Alliance of Idaho Tribes and the National Indian Gaming Association.

Tribal leaders have offered to share 15 percent of the game’s revenue with all 50 states and non-gaming tribes.

At a tribal press conference in Washington, D.C., last week, former Virginia Attorney General Andrew P. Miller supported the tribe’s view. “The Coeur d’Alene tribe has every legal right to operate the National Indian Lottery, plain and simple,” Miller said, adding that the lottery complies with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.