Q: Where is the best location for Indian casinos?
A: When California voters approved Proposition 1A to allow Indian gaming, it was done with the understanding that new casinos would be built on reservation lands, not in urban centers of the state. In fact, the tribes promised at that time that this would be the case. The trend now, however, is for recognized tribes (and sometimes tribes pending recognition) to purchase land with outside money (including Nevada interests) and building or planning huge resort-like casinos in urban locations.
Q: Why should you care if you have no Indian casino proposed
near you at the present time?
A: Without strong action in the form of new State and Federal legislation, this trend will continue to escalate and any urban area could be the next target for an Indian casino. More than 200 new off-reservation casinos now are in the pipeline. There potentially are more than 200 additional tribes that could get into the process or have already started applications that have not yet reached the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. This means that as many as 400 potential new casinos – or more – could be built, including many in urban settings around the nation. There are huge numbers of large-scale investors recruiting tribes and paying for all their expenses to get recognized and approved for gaming.
Q: Is it a small minority of people that oppose the casinos
in the East Bay?
A: Hardly. The coalitions opposing the various proposed casinos around the Bay Area and elsewhere represent many thousands of people in cities and communities all over the state. There’s a huge collective voice out there and our coalition of coalitions represents that voice. A November telephone poll conducted along the I-80 corridor in Contra Costa and parts of Alameda County have found that 72% of respondents oppose plans of Indian Tribes to expand on newly acquired lands and establish Las Vegas-style casinos in the urban Bay Area.
Q: What are legislators currently doing to stop urban casinos?
A: The expansion of urban Indian gaming and reservation shopping throughout California, notably in the East Bay, has grabbed the attention of federal and state lawmakers. At the federal level, Senator Dianne Feinstein has submitted S.113 that specifically would keep slot machines out of San Pablo Casino. U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo’s bill, H.R. 4893, would limit off-reservation casinos. Senator John McCain has introduced bill S. 2078 to amend the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to clarify the authority and regulate Class III gaming. Also, Representative Jim Costa and Representative Dennis Cardoza have drafted amendment H.R. 5125 to tighten regulations on Tribal-State gaming compacts.
State elected officials also have taken action to stop the dramatic expansion of off-reservation Indian casino gaming in California. Assembly Member Loni Hancock’s bill A.B. 2412 would require specific counties to hold an advisory election to allow voters to voice their opinions on urban casinos. Assembly Member Joe Nation’s bill A.C.A 35 would prohibit the Governor to enter into a compact with the tribe for the operation of any tribal gaming activity within city limits unless approved by city officials, the board of supervisors, and the county’s voters.