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Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana

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Anyone who holds a license to conduct gaming activities on riverboats cannot contribute to the political action committee of an Indian tribe that owns a casino, the state board of ethics ruled. The board unanimously refused the request of the Tunica-Biloxi PAC to allow donations after board lawyers recommended against the request Aug. 17. The tribe owns the land-based Grand Casino Avoyelles in Marksville. It argued in its request that riverboat casino licensees don't have business relationships with the land-based casino. The board's lawyers said the request would violate statutes barring against such interaction. Political action committees support candidates who favor their issues and interests. The state has three Indian casinos: the Tunica-Biloxis' in Marksville, the Coushattas' in Kinder and the Chitimachas' in Charenton. The Tunica-Biloxi casino employs more than 1,500 people and draws more than 2 million visitors a year. Before it opened in 1994, Avoyelles parish's unemployment rate was 14 percent; it is now less than 8 percent. Tribal officials want to develop a resort casino on land now occupied by a motel in Union County. Spokesmen for Gov. Mike Foster have said the governor will never approve an Indian casino anywhere else other than the three already existing in Louisiana.

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