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Deals were a bad bet for governor

Wisconsin State Roundup

July 1, 2004

Deals were a bad bet for governor

The state Supreme Court ruled in mid-May that Gov. Jim Doyle exceeded his authority when he negotiated a tribal gaming compact.

At issue is a deal with the Forest County Potawatomi tribe that the court said was negotiated without consent of the state Legislature. The compact allows tribal casinos to offer Las Vegas-style games like poker and craps, which are otherwise illegal in Wisconsin, in exchange for payments to the state.

The ruling upheld the governor's constitutional right to negotiate deals without legislative approval, but it declared that in this case he went too far. It did not, however, specify what was to be done about the now invalidated agreements and casinos.

Under the decision, the recent changes are to be renegotiated; in the meantime old rules are still in effect.

The Potawatomi casino is still operating, and a federal injunction bars any action against it.

It is uncertain how the ruling will affect other casinos whose charters are also invalidated. Wisconsin was to receive $2 billion in payments from casinos over the next 10 years.

Joe Mahon