Indian casinos running amok |

Indian casinos running amok

Tahoe Daily Tribune

There is a repetitive beat being drummed along the major thoroughfares leading to Lake Tahoe. It is the Indians hammering out casinos in California.

In three weeks a 200,000-square-foot Indian gaming facility will open near Lincoln just off Interstate 80 and directly off Highway 65. With it being near Auburn, it is one of the few Indian establishments to be so easily accessible. Most are built in rural areas.

This one is sandwiched between some of the fastest growing cities in California. Station Casinos of Las Vegas knew what it was doing when it partnered with the United Auburn Indian Community to build the $215 million facility.

They want to lure the first-time gambler — and with all the newcomers in the area this is bound to be fertile ground. Perhaps that will mean when these newbies graduate to the next level of gaming they will know how to play first and third base at Stateline’s blackjack tables.

Bringing more players into the fold would certainly be a boon for Tahoe, assuming they eventually make their way to the Sierra.

A tribal spokesman said he wants to attract the Sacramento Valley market. This is bad news for the South Shore. That and the Bay Area accounts for our drive-up market.

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On the other side of the basin all eyes are on the proposed casino by the Miwoks in Shingle Springs. They want to build a 381,250-square-foot complex that will include a 250-room hotel.

El Dorado County has vowed to fork over as much money as is needed to fight this endeavor — with $600,000 already allocated.

Besides the drain in traffic to area gaming sites, these casinos are not contributing to California’s economy. One of the few things they provide is jobs. Otherwise as sovereign nations these tribal monstrosities rake in dollars with no benefit to local, county and state coffers.

Nevada casinos dole out millions of dollars in taxes to the state. Indian casinos give nothing to California.

It is unlikely that when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988 that anyone foresaw the proliferation of Indian gaming and the big-business that it has become.

There is no denying what the white man did to the Indians eons ago was wrong. Some would argue that what goes around comes around.

But the reality is that continuing to let the Indians operate Nevada-style gaming operations in California and elsewhere in the nation should be considered a crime.

Perhaps Gov. Gray Davis can finally do something right by gaining some control over the sprawling industry. Federal laws overseeing Indian land have overstretched their reach and original intent. It is time for the states to be allowed to govern their land — including reservations.

Indian casinos and other Indian businesses need to be held accountable to the same rules, regulations and tax structure as all businesses in this state.

It is time to corral the monster created out of guilt and function on an equal playing field.