Feds adopt new safeguards after Calif. gambling pacts misplaced

Sacramento, California (AP) 3-08

The U.S. Department of the Interior is adopting new rules after it was forced to approve four multibillion dollar Indian gambling agreements because it lost the paperwork last year.

The state agreements allow four wealthy Southern California tribes to expand their casinos.

The paperwork disappeared for 80 days after the agreements were submitted for federal approval. They resurfaced after the deadline for review had passed, leaving the Interior Department no choice but to approve the compacts.

The government says the clock for approving or rejecting future agreements shouldnÂ’t start running until the documents arrive at the federal Office of Indian Gaming.

California voters during February approved letting the tribes operate 17,000 more slot machines, a 30 percent increase.