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P.O.L.O. Home > Tribal gambling and land expansion issues are complicated. Is there any way for the average person to understand this?
Tribal gambling and land expansion issues are complicated. Is there any way for the average person to understand this?

The issues are complicated, however the basic premise is very simple. Businesses on “Indian” reservations in federal “trust” are treated differently than every other business; and current federal and state law allows Casinos and gambling on “Indian” land held in federal trust. These “Indian” casinos do not pay the same amount of taxes that other businesses pay, and “Indian” governments can contribute to political campaigns. “Indian” gaming nationally is a 25 billion dollar, or more, largely unregulated industry. Our elected officials are promoting “tribal” gambling and land expansion. They are seduced by campaign contributions, personal monetary benefits, or afraid of how the contributions will be used against them. Promoting gambling as a form of revenue is used as a short sighted answer to balancing their budgets.

In a nutshell, California, the sixth largest economy in the world, is now being influenced and controlled by the 25 billion dollar “Indian” Casino Industry.

Many years ago there became a political agenda to promote and expand Indian governments. Although accurate historical proof of Indian ancestry and an operating, functioning tribal government was supposed to be required, research shows that some federal agencies used a variety of incorrect assumptions and assertions to “engineer” Indian tribes and governments. Non-Indians living on “reservations” were counted as “Indians” on tribal census rolls that were later used as the basis for “tribes.” Communities have found evidence of outright corruption by the BIA agency who fabricated or “resurrected” tribal governments even though they failed to meet the criteria of a “government”.

Not surprisingly, the number of “Indian tribes” grew exponentially after the passage of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. This act allowed “Indian tribal governments” the opportunity of the monopoly of gambling and a multitude of other federal subsidies. It was required that voters approve Indian gambling in that state. Most voters were very sympathetic to impoverished Indians and had no idea that they were opening the door to mega casinos and unlimited gambling expansion when they allowed special treatment of these impoverished people. They also had no idea of the tremendous negative impact that gambling would have on their community, or that 95% of Indian tribes would never benefit from the “windfall” of gambling.

“Windfall” is a controversial word given the fact that in 1999, the bipartisan National Gambling Impact Commission found that 80 percent of gambling revenue comes from households with incomes of less than $50,000 a year.

The Pequots of Connecticut, owners of the largest casino in the world, Foxwoods, are an excellent example of an engineered “Indian” tribal government. As a matter of fact, a past 60 Minutes segment documented this and that the Pequots now accept anyone as a new member into the “tribe”. No Indian blood required.

It is hard to believe that this has been allowed to happen, however “Indian Governments” have no restrictions on campaign contributions and use their casino money making machines for political contributions to influence law. Money buying politics? No longer hard to believe. Remember Abramoff? No other foreign government is allowed to do this.

In addition, oversight of the “Indian” Gaming industry is almost non-existent. Casino money is used to buy up businesses in the surrounding community and these businesses are then used to support the gaming facility. Economic studies call this “cannibalizing” of the community. Although this practice violates California tribal “compacts”, the California Gambling Control Commission, whose responsibility it is to oversee and enforce compacts, neither oversees nor will enforce violations. We are seeing this first hand as we challenge the use of the Royal Scandinavian Inn, and Federico’s, that are being used to support the Chumash Casino. Although the California Gambling Control Commission has written a letter challenging this practice, there has been no follow up. The Commission has ignored community requests regarding the status of these violations.

Whenever you treat a group of people differently and have them function under different laws, common sense tells you that there will be huge problems. We have the 14th amendment, Equal Protection of the Law, that is supposed to protect people from inequity. Gambling dollars have silenced our civil rights and equal protection.

Want to learn more? Go to www.trustandconsequences.com and look the tribal expansion link on this P.O.L.O. website.

Our elected officials are responsible. It is wrong. Plain and simple.

 

P.O.L.O. is a non-partisan, non-profit organization. P.O.L.O. was founded in 2002 for the purpose of being an advocacy group for the preservation of Los Olivos and the Santa Ynez Valley.

 
 
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