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Indian tribes seek federal bailout money for casinos

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A native-American tribe struggling to keep its Foxwoods Resort Casino in the red is now turning to the U.S. government for a helping hand.

The Associated Press reports that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has already received more than $4.5 million in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services and from the Interior Department in the last five years. But now members are facing tough times with its casino — which used to be a billion-dollar empire — and are looking at the government for more grants, AP says.

Critics are outraged, because the grants were supposed to be used for economic development that would wean Indians off federal aid. So tribes used much of the money to build casino businesses — and now that those businesses are suffering from tough financial times, these same tribes are turning back to the government for a bailout, AP reports.

"The whole purpose of the 1988 law which authorized Indian casinos was to help federally-recognized tribes raise money to run their governments by building casinos on their reservations," said Robert Steele, an ex-congressman from Connecticut, in the AP report.

Federal money is supposed to help "struggling tribes," he said, not Mashantucket Pequots who are struggling with casino issues, AP reports.

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