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Diamondbacks Minor League Affiliate To Promote Casino Gambling

Sports and gambling moved another step closer in their growing partnership this week when a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks sold the naming rights to their stadium to a company that owns a casino in the town.

The South Bend Silver Hawks have announced that they have sold the naming rights to their stadium to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The tribe owns the Four Winds Casino just outside of South Bend, in New Buffalo, Michigan.

The owner of the team was looking for private funding to avoid having to ask taxpayers for money to upgrade the stadium. Silver Hawks owner Andrew Berlin believes the deal with the tribe will prevent any taxpayer money from being used for stadium repairs for at least ten years.

"It's just like in any other business, the naming rights or advertising deals go to the highest bidder," said analyst Harvey Freenstein. "And when it comes to bidding, not many companies or groups can match what Indian tribes who own casinos can offer."

The Silver Hawks are the Diamondbacks Class A affiliate. Major League Baseball has attempted to steer clear of deals with gaming groups, but in recent years there have been several partnerships formed. In Florida, the Marlins played at Dolphins Stadium, where many ads for the Seminole Indian casinos in the area could be seen throughout the stadium.

The stadium deal is for a decade, and the new name of the facility will be Four Winds Field at Stanley Coveleski Stadium. Financial terms of the agreement were not released by either the Silver Hawks or Potawatomi tribal leaders.

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