State tribal negotiators reached a truce Thursday in the state poker wars, just 18 hours before Casino Arizona was set to open on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community, east of Scottsdale.
After months of declaring that the state has no authority over Indian-run poker, Ivan Makil, tribal president, agreed to hire the state Gaming Department to oversee and monitor its 42-table poker room at McKellips Road just east of the Pima Freeway.In exchange, Gov. Jane Hull will not take the tribe to court to resolve the poker issue, which erupted in August after state Attorney General Grant Woods said that Indian-run card games are illegal in Arizona.
Details of the pact have not been worked out, but it means that Casino Arizona, which opens Friday, will continue to run its poker hall while negotiations continue between Hull and tribal officials. Without the agreement, the casino's continued operation may have been in jeopardy.
Gary Husk, head of the Arizona Gaming Department, said his concerns over hiring practices at the casino prove the state should regulate poker just as it does slot machines and other games in Indian country.
He said he is worried about the integrity of poker at Casino Arizona because the tribe has hired a felon and another man whose gaming license was revoked by the state.