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Striking a new deal with some Michigan's Native American tribes on gaming revenue

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The state of Michigan is trying to negotiate a new agreement with six Native American tribes that could mean a lot of money for the state.

Since 1993, the state of Michigan has had an agreement with the tribes (Saginaw Chippewa, Grand Traverse, Lau Vieux Desert, Sault Ste Marie, Bay Mills and Hannahville) concerning gambling revenues.   That gaming compact is up for its regular review this year.  

Governor Snyder wants to renegotiate the compact.  A spokesman for the governor declined to say what’s being discussed.  

Aaron Payment is the chairman of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, which operates five casinos in the U.P.

“We got a phone call from the governor’s Indian agent that said they intended to renegotiate…but he actually said don’t laugh at the offer,” says Payment,  “We're being offered a tax and in exchange we're not being offered any exclusivity....there's nothing in exchange... and in contract negotiations you have to have something for something not something for nothing."

Payment says the governor wants the tribes to pay the state 8% or more of their gaming revenues under a new deal which is much more than they're paying now.

Payment says the six tribes may wait until November when the old compact will simply renew for another five years.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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