Tribal Casinos keep eye on Prop. 29 |

Tribal Casinos keep eye on Prop. 29

Although Proposition 1A is the hot topic regarding Indian gaming, Proposition 29 is directly affected by its outcome.

If Proposition 1A fails and voters pass Proposition 29, the Pala Compact – which was permitted by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1998 – would go into effect.

The Pala Compact is an agreement with the Pala Band of Mission Indians, 10 other tribes and the state, which permits only certain types of gambling on their lands.

“This compact allows for a modest increase of Indian gambling and preserves a reasonable, fair approach to the complex issue of gambling expansion in California,” said Cheryl Schmit, co-director for Stand Up for America. “It also empowers local governments to address the expansion of tribal land, unlike 1A. By supporting the citizens of the community they will have a voice in getting Indian land zoned appropriately.”

What makes this proposition different from Proposition 1A is a stipulation that was included to prohibit banking games, such as blackjack, and limitations to the amount of slot machines in the state.

The allowed number of slot machines with Proposition 29 would be expanded to about 20,000, unlike the 113,000 slated for implementation if 1A passes.

“If we have to have one pass, we would take Proposition 29,” said Leo McElroy, campaign consultant for Southern California Assemblyman Bruce Thompson, who is opposed to 1A.

Proposition 1A would allow all tribal casinos to operate like Nevada-style casinos. If it’s approved, Proposition 29 would not pass. This is because of another compact between 57 tribes and the Legislature that was approved in 1999 to replace all previous agreements. As a result, the original Pala Compact would be replaced if Proposition 1A comes into effect.

However, if voters do not pass Proposition 1A, the Pala Compact could become effective and tribes would then only be allowed to use the lottery-type gambling machines.

“The original intent of Proposition 29 was to ratify a compact with only one other tribe,” said Waltona Manion, communications director for Proposition 1A.

“The majority of tribes were opposed to it because they had no input, but 10 other tribes were forced to sign it or they faced closure. Passage of 29 would mean a shutdown and take away badly needed funds that are generated from these casinos for our people.”

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