California approves state casino gambling
The Senate of California
approved today the largest Indian casino expansion in the
state's history. If the bill passes the Assembly, as well, it
will allow the Indian tribes to operate over 22,500 more slot
machines - an increase of over 50% from the current numbers.
Gov. Schwarzenegger is counting on the legislature to pass this
bill, as it plays a big role in the state's future budget. He
backed up the bill, expecting that the Indian tribes will
install the new slots within months of passage of the bill and
bring over half a billion dollars to cover the state's deficit -
a prediction many analysis disagree with.
The compacts with the six
Indian casinos (five operational and one to be built) is with a
time stamp of 30 years and should contribute billions within
that timeframe to the California's budget. The bands in the
compacts are: the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla, the Sycuan
Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Morongo Band of Mission
Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, the San Manuel
Band of Mission Indians, and the Yurok Indians.
Similar bill was not
approved by the Assembly last year, mainly due to objections
from labor groups in the state. Although this bill carries the
same labor union protections, it also requires that the tribes
should work more closely with the state government to solve
future problems resulting from the expansion, such as
infrastructure over-load. The future of the bill in Assembly,
however, still remains uncertain.
Indian gambling revenue
has increased in the past few years to reach over $7 billion
annually, making the Indian tribes one of the most influential
sides in California politics.