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Pala Chairman Robert Smith Elected California Tribal Business Alliance Chair, Denounces Illegal Internet Sweepstakes Cafés

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On Tuesday night, the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA) board of directors unanimously elected the Honorable Robert Smith, chairman of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, as its new chair. CTBA board members included representatives of the Lytton Rancheria of California, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California, as well as Pala.

Smith, who has served as his tribe’s chairman since 1987, will assume this new leadership role on January 1.

“CTBA continues to be a clear and unequivocal voice for Native Americans, advocating at all levels of government on issues that impact California’s tribes,” said Chairman Smith in a press release. “CTBA’s goals are very clear: to safeguard and enhance tribal business enterprises, while advancing our status as sovereign nations through mutual respect and cooperation.”

The same day Smith was elected chairman, Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputies and agents from the state department raided two Internet sweepstakes cafés, and in both locations, arrested the business managers who were charged with running illegal gambling operations.

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“Any form of illegal gambling is a serious concern for Native American gaming facilities because it erodes our customer base and more importantly violates our compacts with California,” Smith said in a statement. “In some ways, Internet sweepstakes cafés are some of the most insidious offenders because patrons assume they are legal ventures when in fact, they undermine California’s basic principle of controlled gaming.”