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Official: Tribal Casinos Have Unfair Tax Edge

Mon., June 9, 1997

Building a case for new taxes on Indian gambling casinos, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer said Sunday “unfair tax advantages” are partly responsible for the growth of the multibillion dollar Indian gaming industry.

Archer, R-Texas, released a General Accounting Office study detailing the growth of Indian gambling casinos. He is to release a wide-ranging tax bill expected to include taxes on Indian gaming today.

“Today’s report concludes that Indian gaming is a successful and thriving commercial industry,” Archer said in a statement. “Unfortunately, a portion of the success can be attributed to unfair tax advantages.”

The GAO report said Indian gaming revenues soared 3,500 percent since 1985, from $125 million to more than $4.5 billion in 1995. Indian gaming revenues totaled 10 percent of the U.S. gambling industry that year, the GAO said.

Such a proposal will have to overcome substantial political opposition. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles, R-Okla., both have expressed general opposition to Indian gaming taxes.

In addition, Attorney General Janet Reno and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt oppose the move.

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