In California, an “Indian tribe” must negotiate with the Governor and have a “compact” with the State in order to conduct Class III Gambling. Class III gambling includes, but is not limited to, slot machines.
In 1999, Governor Gray Davis signed a compact with the Santa Ynez Band. In addition to the two thousand slot machines they received, they were also granted the opportunity for a second casino and they have the ability to renegotiate their compact for more slot machines if they want more slot machines.
Santa Ynez Chairman Armenta has repeatedly stated they will renegotiate.
Currently, Governor Schwarzenegger is attempting to use casino money to balance his budget…on the backs of rural communities such as ours. Given the fat that 80% of gambling revenue comes from households with incomes of less than $50,000, he is also balancing the budget on the backs of the most poor and vulnerable citizens. He must be stopped.
The Governor’s own financial analysts have said that the revenue Schwarzenegger is projecting that will be generated from Casino dollars is erroneous. In addition, the social costs of gambling are well documented to “cannibalize” local economies and are being ignored by the Governor and our elected officials at the State Capital. Patrons of “Indian” casinos have no idea that Nevada casino slot machines pay 90-95% whereas “Indian” casinos pay 60-65%.
The social costs are NOT EVEN PART OF THE DISCUSSION on renegotiation of tribal gambling compacts. Just where do you think the money is going to come from to pay for this? The American taxpayer. The American taxpayer will continue to subsidize this industry until citizens speak up and vote anyone supporting this inequity OUT.
In addition, oversight of “Indian” casinos is almost non-existent. If Casino “tribes” violate their state compact there is no one or no agency that will stop this violation. We are seeing this here, in the Santa Ynez Valley, as the Santa Ynez Band is using the recently purchased Royal Scandinavian Inn and Federico’s to support their gaming facility. This is prohibited in their compact.
The language in the compact is very specific and very important yet neither the California Gambling Control Commission, nor the Attorney General’s Division of Gambling Control will take action.
The language in sections 2.8 and 4.2 ensure that a casino tribe will not use its enormous casino revenues to buy up businesses in the surrounding area for the purpose of supporting the gaming facility. This is not about casino tribes diversifying into other businesses. This is about using other businesses to grow the very lucrative business of gambling.
For example, since the Chumash Hotel is often 100 percent occupied, somewhat limiting the number of gamblers, actively marketing and using rooms at the Royal Scandinavian for casino patrons results in expansion of gambling, crime, traffic and off reservation impacts. Moving non-gaming training facilities offsite to Federico’s means more room for more slot machines and casino patrons, and results in more gambling, crime, traffic and off reservation impacts. Tribal minutes document the intent to “control the hospitality industry.”
Economists call this “cannibalization of a community.” Others call it the creation of Company Towns. It appears that the sections in the compact to protect the hosting community are meaningless. We can either sit back and be cannibalized into a Company Town, or we can stand up and demand to be protected. We are now attempting to get the Governor to take action. See sections 2.8 and sections 4.2 of the Tribal State Compact. Take action. Call the Governor.
Other countries around the world are reducing or eliminating casinos altogether as they realize the negative social and economic impacts. For example, Russia has closed 2,230 casinos due to the economic strain these casinos were having on its economy. There are many other countries that have followed suit and it is unfathomable that California is increasing the gambling capacity of these largely self regulated “Indian” casinos.
California Gambling Commission
2399 Gateway Oaks, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95833
Telephone: (916) 263-0700
Fax: (916) 263-0452
Contact the Governor
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814