February 5 is a big day for California. Not only will voters
take part in the "Super Tuesday" presidential primary, they'll
also decide whether four tribes can expand their casinos.
The Agua Caliente Band of
, the Morongo Band of Mission
, the Pechanga Band of
and the Sycuan
Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
signed Class III compacts with
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
The deals allow the tribes to add up to 17,000 slot machines at their
In exchange, the state receives a cut of the slot revenues -- estimated
to be $9 billion over 20 years.
But opponents among labor unions and the non-Indian racetrack industry say the
compacts are unfair to workers and to other gaming tribes.
The stakes are extremely high. So far, the four tribes and their supporters
have spent more than $82 million to persuade voters to say "yes"
to Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 while the other side has spent more than $26 million.
Opponents include the Pala
Band of Mission Indians
near San Diego and
the United Auburn Indian
The tribes, whose own compacts with Schwarzenegger allowed for more
slot machines, each contributed $9 million to the "no" campaign.
Most other tribes, however, support the new compacts.
The California Nations Indian
, which represents
more than half of the state's tribes, and individual tribes have
voted to back the four tribes.
"The efforts by outside third parties who have their own financial or political
agendas is a direct challenge to the future of the Indian gaming industry and
all California tribes, whether they have gaming operations or not," said
CNIGA Chairman Anthony Miranda, who is Pechanga.
The Pala and Auburn tribes do not belong to CNIGA. Along with a handful
of other tribes, they withdrew a few years ago
amid a dispute over direction of the organization, which holds its
annual convention and membership meeting in Palm Springs -- home
to the Agua Caliente Band -- the week
after the February 5 vote.
The outcome of the propositions, as well as the presidential primary,
will be a hot topic at the 13th annual Western Indian
Gaming Conference. Tribal leaders will discuss the political
forecast for the year during a panel session.
Meanwhile, a fifth tribe's gaming compact has been approved
by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The San Manuel Band of
signed a deal with
similar provisions to the "Big Four" compacts but it won't
up for a vote on February 5.
According to Proposition 94,
the Pechanga Band will be able to add up to 5,500 slot machines
at its casino.
The tribe will contribute $42.5 million a year to the state, plus a share of
the slot revenues.
The Morongo Band will be able to add up to 5,500 if Proposition
95 passes. The tribe will share $36.7 million with the state, in addition
to a cut of the slot revenues.
The Sycuan Band will add 3,000 more slot machines to its casinos, according
to Proposition 96.
The tribe will pay $20 million a year to the state, plus a share of
Finally, the Agua Caliente Band will add 3,000 slot machines if
Proposition 97 passes. The tribe will share $25.4 million a year,
plus a percentage of slot revenues.
In prior elections, voters have overwhelmingly supported Indian
gaming propositions. Polls also indicate most Californians
believe casinos benefit tribes.
| Proposition 95
| Proposition 96
| Proposition 97
Campaign Finance Data:
Californians Against Unfair Deals
Tribes for Fair Play
Federal Register Notices:Agua Caliente
| Morongo Band
| Pechanga Band
| Sycuan Band
Californians Against Unfair Deals - http://www.nounfairdeals.com
Coalition to Protect California's Budget & Economy -
Editorial: Vote yes on Big Four gaming
(1/21) Swimmer cites investigation of misplaced
(1/18) Column: BIA helps
gaming tribes get richer
compacts will help California
were sent to wrong room at DOI
on California's future
California gaming compacts
expansion in California
yes on tribal gaming compacts
spending on compact referendum
Bungling of California gaming compacts
(1/7)Fight brews over
'Big Four' California compacts