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California tribal gaming association expands further with three additions


California’s tribal gaming association has added three new members as it bolsters its position as the biggest regional organisation of its kind in the US.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) now has 39 members following the recruitment of Tejon Indian Tribe and the readmission of Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians.

The group, which represents the interests of federally recognised tribal governments and associate members who are California’s only legal casino operators, now includes more than a third of all tribes in the state.

“We are incredibly pleased and honored to bring more tribal governments into this great organization,” said CNIGA chairman James Siva.

“Tribal governments need a strong, unified voice on gaming issues, and CNIGA provides a forum for tribal voices to be heard in the halls of power. Each tribe brings a unique perspective, therefore bringing greater knowledge to the whole.”

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Tachi Yokut Tribe, Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, Berry Creek Rancheria of Tyme Maidu and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians have all joined or re-joined since 2019.

CNIGA was founded in 1988 to preserve and protect Indian gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

It has been an opponent of moves to expand gambling across California in recent years, advocating the maintenance of the tribal governments’ exclusive right to operate casino-style games in the state.

Gross gambling revenue from tribal casinos increased 2.5% year-on-year in the 2019 financial year to a record $34.6bn, according to figures published in December 2020 by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC).

Sacramento, which covers tribes active in California and Northern Nevada, was the region with the most revenue, with this amounting to $9.7bn, up 4.3% on 2018.