Saturday, March 10, 2007

Kempthorne delt 'spanking' to 42 tribes chasing off-reservation gambling

But now you can blame California tribes for the cold shoulder a Catskill casino is getting in Washington.In 2006 alone, tribes there filed 10 applications. To date, 19 California tribes want to build casinos, and 14 of those are off-reservation casinos. California has more than 50 Indian casinos located on reservations.

Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthrone dealt a spanking to all tribes with dreams of an off-reservation casino. Don't bet on approval, he told 42 tribes seeking casinos, including The St. Regis Mohawks, who want to build a casino at the Monticello Gaming & Raceway. In reality the Mohawks are caught in a backlash that is not of their making. The Mohawks submitted their original application for a casino at the track in 1999, the oldest on the books. In 2005 and 2006, though, tribes flooded the BIA with off-reservation proposals, attempting to beat new federal rules that might rule out any casino beyond 50 miles of the tribe's reservation. California has the most.

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Concerns raised about Malik & Bay Mills Tribe's Plastics Business long before $900k federal grant awarded

excerpted from the Bay Mills News, March 24, 2005 article titled “GTC authorizes council extension on Port Huron:”


[Bay Mills Tribal Chairman Jeff] Parker said that Mike Malik is involved in the plastics business because the tribe did not want to expend any tribal funds on the project. He said the initial concept is to have the business in Kinross until the planned creation of an industrial park on tribal properties at I-75 and M-28.

A member of the community had questions about the business — who is the International Composite Institute of Michigan (ICIM) and what is the tribe's relationship with this company? Parker said that ICIM is a non-profit entity comprised of Lake Superior State University and Bay Mills Community College and that BMCC is a charter member.

The concerned member said that ICIM is a non-profit corporation chartered within the state of Michigan and it's chief principal is Tony Andary.

BMCC President Mickey Parish said that ICIM is a non profit testing company and that the college is involved to give students an opportunity to do internships there. He said that LSSU would also like to use the facility for their students to do internships. He added that BMCC has applied for a grant to purchase testing equipment and that LSSU has also applied for a $500,000 two-year grant to fund the staff of the testing institute.

The concerned member said that ICIM'S mailing address, P.O. Box 915, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., currently shares the same address with Integrated Composites Company, a company owned by both Tony Andary and Parker. He said that BMCC shares a partnership with this group to provide free labor that will help advance Parker and Andary's company. He added that Parker had signed a lease to the building to ICIM and the group that licenses this technology is known as Polycomp, Inc.

Parker said that he and Andary did form an L.L.C. called Integrated Composites, L.L.C., but he sold out his interest in the company. He said they had only one piece of equipment and that has been sold. He admitted that they did lease the building, but said that has since been assigned to someone else. Parker said that he is only listed as a partner of Polycomp, Inc. because he did legal work with Andary [Andary, Davis & Andary P.C.] and, because of potential problems, he did sell his interest in the business.

A concerned community member said that at the last GTC meeting Chairman Parker had said that he had no interest, whatsoever, in the business. She suggested the GTC put together a committee to investigate the allegations.

Another member said that it was his understanding that Malik would invest $1.3 million into the company and would own 49 percent of it, while Bay Mills would own 51 percent. He also recommended a committee be put together to investigate some of these allegations and report back to the GTC with their findings. Parker said he would like to have the tribe do the venture on their own, but said that they did it this way so they would not be out any money.

A motion to have the council report back with paperwork at the next GTC meeting on all of the legal issues presented failed to pass.

A motion to have the Executive Council enter into a joint venture for the Plastics Business carried.

You may want to review these previous posts:

The Verifiable Truth: Bay Mills & Malik get into Plastics; Senator Stabenow announces they'll get $900,000 federal jumpstart

The Verifiable Truth: Michigan Senator's re-election realizes $113,000 from Detroit syndicators after she introduces plans for their Port Huron Indian Casino

The Verifiable Truth: UPDATE: More Money (post election) to Sen. Stabenow brings total to $117,200 from Malik & the Ilitch Family

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ilitch makes Forbes list of World's Richest Billionaires


Ilitch, Gilbert latest Michigan rich folk to make Forbes' list

Ilitch has done it throwin’ pizza dough and with lots of risky leverage

By Brian O’Connor

What can you buy with $1 billion? How about:42,857,143 Hot-N-Ready large pepperoni pizzas from Little Caesars … Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert, Metro Detroit's two newest official Forbes billionaires.

Gilbert and Ilitch join nine other Michiganians on the coveted annual Forbes magazine list of billionaires, an exclusive club of less than 1,000 across the globe.

Gilbert, chairman and founder of Rock Finanical and Quicken Loans Inc. in Livonia, made it on the list with a net worth of $1.2 billion. Ilitch, chairman of Ilitch Holdings, which includes Little Caesars Pizza, the Fox Theatre and Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, is higher up with a total of $1.5 billion.

How rich are these people? Let me put it this way: At the very least, any person on the billionaires list has a net worth that could plug the entire 2007 State of Michigan budget shortfall

Home-grown list-makers

As for our home-grown rich-folk, Richard Manoogian returns this year to the B-list. The head of home-products firm Masco slipped off last year when Masco stock also slipped. The stock is stronger now, but Manoogian is back largely because of gains in his extensive art collection, notes Matthew Miller, an associate editor for the billionaire's list.

"Art has been a tremendous investment for a lot of our billionaires," Miller says. Manoogian's collection "has seen maybe a nine-figure appreciation in the last couple of years."

Also returning is John Brown of Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp., which makes medical equipment. He dropped off last year, either because Stryker stock was down or because his shares had been moved into a trust. Another Stryker shareholder, Ronda Stryker, moves up, thanks to a healthy gain of about percent in the medical stock. 30

Michigan's richest billionaire remains auto-glass magnate William Davidson, chairman of Guardian Industries Corp. and Palace Sports and Entertainment. His net worth of $4.1 billion includes owning the Pistons, Detroit Shock and the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.

Amway co-founder Richard DeVos Sr. is next on the list, with a $3.5 billion net worth. Also turning in a repeat performance is Richard Penske, along with mall developer Alfred Taubman and home builder Richard Pulte.

The newest B-listers

Of the new kids on the billionaire block, the Forbes estimate includes holdings of both Ilitch and his wife, Marian. This allows Forbes to add the family's MotorCity casino holdings, which are strictly segregated to keep the gambling business from tarnishing the sports-team holdings. Forbes estimates MotorCity to be worth about $200 million to the Ilitches.

"Technically, the way it works is that his wife owns it, but we give him credit because they made the bulk of it off of Little Caesars," explains Miller.

So how's it feel to make the list of the world's billionaires? Is it true, like the old hymn warns, that life can make the most fortunate person a beggar at times? Or, as the beatniks used to claim, is life just a junk sandwich, where the more bread you have, the less junk you eat?

Well, pizza probably covers up the taste of junk pretty well, but Mike Ilitch wasn't available to comment.

Gilbert was, though: "A very smart guy named Albert Einstein once said: 'Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted " counts.'

Of course, being a billionaire, Gilbert provided that statement through one of his assistants.

[NOTE: Ilitch attorneys indicate Ilitch took on $1.1 billion in debt to finance the acquisition and expansion of MotorCity Casino, which suggests Forbes’ estimates an 85% Debt/Value ratio for MotorCity Casino. Analysts at Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s expressed concern for such risky leverage and downgraded MotorCity’s corporate credit ratings last year. Further, despite the Tigers success on the field in 2006, Forbes recently estimated the Detroit Tigers had a 73% Debt/Value ratio – the third worst debt ratios in MLB]

As most of Michigan continues to struggle financially, 11 make Forbes List of World's Richest Billionaires

Forbes' Special Report
The World's Billionaires
03.08.07, 6:00 PM ET

How Michigan's Weathiest Stack Up

World Rank

NameCitizenshipAgeNet Worth ($bil)Residence
210 William Davidson

United States



United States

249 Richard DeVos

United States



United States

369 Ronda Stryker

United States



United States

432 Roger Penske

United States



United States

458 Jon Stryker

United States



United States

488 A Alfred Taubman

United States



United States

664 Michael Ilitch

United States



United States

754 John Brown

United States



United States

754 William Pulte

United States



United States

799 Daniel Gilbert

United States



United States

891 Richard Manoogian

United States



United States

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Where in the world is "Charlotte Beach?"

That's a question a lot of people have been asking.

The Charlotte Beach area of Michigan is not a well recognized “place.” You’ll be hard pressed to find it on any map, or a list of place names in Michigan. Few, including reporters and policy makers here in Michigan can tell you where it is.

The only references to Charlotte Beach are either in Florida or documentation generally associated with land claims settlement proposals by two of Michigan’s Indian Tribes: the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians; or on the several tract maps filed in the early part of the 20th Century.

Formal legal documents describe the 110 acres of “Charlotte Beach” as:

"Government Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Section 7, T45N, R2E,
and Lot 1 of Section 18, T45N, R2E, Chippewa County, State of Michigan."

So really, where in the world is “Charlotte Beach?”

Located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula approximately 15 miles south of Sault Ste Marie, in the small north eastern community of Barbeau, Bruce Township* (ZIP code 49710), the 110-acre area referred to as “Charlotte Beach” is a sliver of property that lies along the St. Mary’s River; approximately two football fields deep, bordered by S. Scenic Drive on the west and the waterfront of the West Neebish Channel on the east; beginning at the mouth of the Charlotte River on the north (E. 13 Mile Road), it extends south approximately 1.25 miles toward the Barbeau Oak Ridge Park Ferry Crossing (E. 15 Mile Road/Cork Town Road.).

* Not to be confused with Bruce Township in Macomb County, Michigan.

click: for larger image

Created using Google Earth

click: for larger image

Created using Google Earth


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online

March 6, 2007

Casino's chances aren't good

Feds say approval is unlikely

By Steve Schultze

A proposed casino in Kenosha got a second dose of bad news Tuesday with the release of a letter from federal officials warning that the odds against its approval have worsened

In the letter, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs tells the Menominee tribe that congressional concerns about "reservation shopping" are shared by the bureau.

The letter also states that the farther away a proposed casino site is from a tribe's traditional boundaries, the less likely it will be approved. The Menominee reservation is about 200 miles from the proposed $808 million casino site in Kenosha at Dairyland Greyhound Park. The Forest County Potawatomi tribe, operator of the state's largest casino, which is in Milwaukee, opposes the proposed Kenosha casino.

The Kenosha project also made the news last week when casino developer and Kenosha businessman Dennis Troha was indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of laundering campaign donations to Gov. Jim Doyle and lying about them.

Doyle has veto power over the plan if it gets federal approval.

Troha is selling his stake in the Kenosha project.

The letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs was dated Feb. 13, three weeks before the Troha indictment. The letter makes no mention that Troha was under FBI investigation at the time.

The bureau letter warns the Menominee tribe that it expects continued congressional efforts to try to limit approval of more off-reservation casinos and says that review of such proposals will be done so that "we are able to justify to concerned congressional leaders any action the department may take to approve an off-reservation gaming application."

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is part of the U.S. Interior Department.

The letter was signed by James Cason, the Bureau of Indian Affairs' acting head. Carl Artman, a Wisconsin Oneida and the newly confirmed bureau leader, was expected to be sworn in soon.

Nedra Darling, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said she did not expect that the strict off-reservation casino approach would change under Artman.

Nonetheless, Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for the Kenosha casino project, said he was confident it could meet the tougher federal standards.

"We always knew it was a long road," he said. "We always knew it was hard."

Zeppos said he thought the Menominee tribe's dire need for economic help should help offset federal concerns about the distance the casino would be from the tribe's reservation in northeastern Wisconsin.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs on Tuesday also released a similar letter it sent to two Chippewa tribes seeking approval for an off-reservation casino in Beloit.

Beloit casino spokesman Joe Hunt said that project's backers were aware of the federal concerns and "have worked very hard to make sure we were doing things in exactly the right way."

Original Story URL:

© 2006, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. | Journal Sentinel Inc. is a subsidiary of Journal Communications.

Bay Mills Indian Casino backers behind first fundraiser for Rep. Candice Miller

Previous posts note Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI 10th) kicked-off her first term in the House of Representatives by introducing H.R. 831, a bill that would have by Act of Congress allowed the Bay Mills Indian Tribe to build a Las Vegas-style casino resort in Port Huron (350 miles away from the tribe’s Upper Peninsula reservation).

Newly uncovered detail indicates she followed that up with the first major fundraiser of her first term. It would end up being the second biggest fundraising day of her entire first term in the House. (See the chart below as reported at

Organizers and participants of the event were primarily those with financial ties to the Bay Mills Indian Casino proposal including Michael Malik and the Ilitch Family; attorneys from several of their law firms (Dykema Gossett and Ehrlich, Foley & Serwer); the daughter of the Bay Mills Tribe Chairman John Lufkins; other tribal representatives; community advocates and supporters like Richard Cummings who will gain financially by the proposed casino; and Ilitch public relations guy Tom Shields. That core group represented $25,500 of the total money raised. A smattering of other attorneys, friends, insurance brokers and property managers (all somehow connected), contributed the balance.

PoliticalMoneyLine for Congressional Quarterly

Rep. Candice Miller (D-MI) 108th Congress

Top 10 Contributions by Date From Individuals
(as reported by filer)










































A previous post highlighted 3/1/2003 as a day in which Malik and the Ilitch Family appeared to make bundled contributions to Rep. Miller but new details available indicate that day was much more significant than previously understood. There was no real financial support from Malik or the Ilitch Family for Rep. Miller’s first campaign for Congress; it came several months later, only after she introduced H.R. 831. After this event, Malik and the Ilitch Family would contribute and urge others to contribute to a different committee that Rep Miller had specially set up.

Since that first big fundraiser, Malik and the Ilitch Family alone contributed almost $75,000 directly to Rep. Miller’s committees. They also contributed heavily to the Republican National Committees that support Members of Congress.

It’s reported in the Lansing State Journal, Rep. Miller is taking a renewed interest in pushing the Port Huron Casino for the Bay Mills Indians (Malik and Ilitch).

What would a 40-mile radius 'competition-free' zone around downtown Los Angeles look like?

People asked what a 40-mile radius competition-free zone around dowtown Los Angeles might look like. We've created this Google Earth map for context in understanding the massive nature and special privileges extended to Barwest and its tribal partners in unprecedented gaming compacts that include such competition-free zones around future their future Barstow Casinos and mega-Resorts.

click: for larger image

You may also want to review these other radius maps: Compare 40-mile radius competition-free zone provided in Barstow Casino agreements

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How Detroit Casino Syndicators Spent $3.2 million Lobbying Congress

A Matrix presentation of annual payments to D.C. Lobbying firms by Detroit Casino Syndicators and their various partners affiliates in a quest for congressional approval of three off-reservation casino proposals: Shinnecock Indian Nation, Bay Mills Indian Community, Big Lagoon Rancheria, Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians

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The Jamul Tribe and Another Casino in San Diego County?

Posted 03.05.07 at Indian Gaming Today:

The Jamul Indian tribe plans to build a $350 million, 12-story casino in Jamul. Two members of the small tribe are opposed, partly on the grounds that they believe they represent “the true Jamul Indian tribe,” and partly because the proposed casino will be built atop their homes, as well as on a tribal burial ground. They’ve filed several lawsuits in an attempt to block the casino, while non-Indian citizens’ groups also have formed and mobilized in opposition.

Blogger Steve’s quoted fairly extensively in this March 5th article in the Voice of San Diego, which observes:

"The fight has broad implications for the public acceptance of tribal gaming in San Diego County. The story of the Jamul casino opens a window not only into the state of tribal gaming, but also the divisiveness of tribal politics and perceptions of American Indians in the 21st century. . . . 'In and around San Diego, that spread of casinos is not just saturating the market but creating a tipping point,' says Steven Light, co-director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota. 'At that point, gambling is seen as a bad thing. You sort of go over the precipice. There's the perception that it's too much.'"Although it might be read that way, Steve must admit that he’s not entirely positive that the spread of casinos in San Diego County actually is saturating the economic market for gaming; rather, the quote should be read as an observation of how public opinion is changing in and around San Diego, as well as elsewhere. The story of the Jamul is but one such tale.

posted by bloggers Kathryn & Steve at 2:02 PM

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gun Lake Tribe takes land in trust first; state must negotiate a compact or else

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Editorial: Allegan casino; time to deal

When it comes to a proposed casino in Allegan County, the old country song applies: You've got to know when to hold 'em. And know when to fold 'em.

For Michigan, the time to fold will be when land is taken into trust by the federal government for the Gun Lake Tribe. That could happen very soon, depending on court action.

Once the land is in trust, a casino is all but inevitable, and lawmakers and the governor will be forced to deal with the tribe to garner revenue and exercise oversight at the planned Wayland Township complex.

For local governments, the revenue would offset expenses the casino would bring. The state, where budget decisions involve grim choices between competing evils, can't afford to forego funds.

Refusing to negotiate a compact, the contract between the tribe and the state, would be a considerable gamble, likely a losing one for Michigan. The U.S. Department of the Interior, the agency responsible for overseeing tribal gaming, has consistently sided with tribes, in at least one case allowing a casino without a compact.

When it comes to stopping American Indian casinos, there are few if any effective legal gambits. Federal law favors tribes. Much has been said in the Legislature against casinos. But the final solution to regaining some state control of American Indian gambling lies with Congress. Washington lawmakers should reopen the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which granted considerable latitude to tribes to site casinos with little or no state input.

In the meantime, a Gun Lake casino is almost assuredly headed our way. Late last month, a U.S. District judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed a Grand Rapids-area group's suit against the Interior Department. Michigan Gambling Opposition [MichGO] plans to continue the fight. The history of such appeals offers scant comfort to anti-casino forces. Gov. Jennifer Granholm is willing to negotiate a compact once land is taken into trust. That's the responsible, pragmatic position. Two years ago, Wyoming's Northern Arapaho Tribe received permission from the Interior Department to operate a Class III casino -- which includes blackjack, slot machines and roulette -- with no compact and no cut of the proceeds. Michigan should not be caught in a similar spot.

A compact would give the state the power to inspect the casino to make sure it's compliant with the terms of the deal. Past agreements have required tribes to pay 8 percent of slot machine proceeds to the state and 2 percent to local governments.

The governor should not approve a compact without securing support from the Legislature. Many West Michigan lawmakers have opposed expanded gambling in Michigan, in part because of its social consequences. So has this paper. But now new alternatives may have to be considered and with legal appeals coming up short, we face a different reality, perhaps a Hobson's choice: take what we can through a compact, or risk getting nothing at all. Those aren't odds we should be willing to play.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

UPDATE: More money (post election) to Sen. Stabenow brings total to $117,200 from Malik & the Ilitch Family

Late ’06 post-election political contributions of another $4,200 from Michael J. Malik, Sr., ($117, 200 in total from Malik and the Ilitch Family) flowed to Stabenow the week before she announced $906,000 grant to a Bay Mills Indians enterprise in which Malik owns a 49% stake.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports:









Previous posts have acknowledged that Michael J. Malik, Sr. and the Ilitch Family contributed $113,000 to Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) re-election efforts. The money started flowing to Stabenow after she introduced a bill in 2002 that would by Act of Congress authorize the Bay Mills Indian Community to build an “off-reservation” casino in Port Huron, MI; 350 miles away from the Reservation. Malik and Ilitch have been bankrolling the Tribe’s efforts for nearly a decade, maybe more.

And we’ve also posted news that Stabenow had announced in mid-December a $900,000+ grant was headed to the Bay Mills Indian Community for a business enterprise involving the research and manufacturing of plastics (a venture in which Michael Malik reportedly owns 49%).

Now that post-election 2006 campaign finance reports have been logged, FEC records indicate that Malik contributed two more checks of $2,100 each after Election Day (both logged on 12/15/06) to Stabenow’s re-election committee. Those additional contributions came less than a week before Stabenow announced the $900,000+ Bay Mills grant; Malik’s two contributions both at the maximum allowable under federal election law totaled $4,200.

Not a bad investment for Malik, even if the casino deal never come through, considering he owns 49% of the plastics venture; Malik’s “share” of the Federal Grant is $443,940.

And with the addition of Malik’s late contributions, the grand total of contributions from Malik & the Ilitch Family for Stabenow’s re-election increases to $117,200.

U.S. Department of Commerce

Economic Development Administration


December 18-21, 2006

EDA announced 19 investments greater than $100,000 during the period December 18-22, 2006, totaling $13,414,396. These investments were part of projects totaling $44,135,859, creating over 2,048 jobs, saving 43 jobs, and generating more than $289.9 million in private investments.

$906,000 for a joint investment with the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Bay Mills Community College, Brimley, Michigan, to construct an industrial facility to house the Great Lakes Composites Institute providing space for research, testing, training and manufacturing in the plastics technology in Chippewa County. This investment is part of a $1,510,000 project that will help create 55 jobs and generate more than $2.8 million in private investments.

You may want to review these previous posts:

San Manuel Tribe in parntership with Santa Anita Race Track

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Run for the Money

Horse racing, casino gaming find a common ground


SANTA ANITA -- When Santa Anita Park holds its richest race of the season Saturday, the lead sponsor will be part of horse racing's chief rivals in California.

Terry Pierson / The Press-Enterprise
Although the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino is a competitor, its banners wave at Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles. The two entertainment venues have entered a sponsorship agreement for the Santa Anita Handicap to be held Saturday.

With a purse of $1 million, the Santa Anita Handicap is being presented by the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino, a tribal gaming hall near San Bernardino.

In December, the casino signed a one-year deal with the track that includes the Handicap, two earlier races, as well as cross-promotions, TV advertising and other benefits, said Santa Anita marketing director Allen Gutterman. Financial terms weren't disclosed but Gutterman said San Manuel is now the track's largest sponsor.

The partnership stands out because the two competing industries have fought, sometimes bitterly, for a decade. Over that time, the state's horse-racing fortunes have plummeted while tribal gaming has grown into a $7 billion enterprise.

Their battle picks up again this month as five of the state's wealthiest tribes -- including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians -- push for new state gaming compacts that would allow them to add 22,500 slot machines between them.

Horse-racing interests, led by the owner of Hollywood Park, plan to oppose the compacts, as they did last year. They will argue that by granting the tribes the exclusive right to operate slot machines, the state has severely damaged the tracks.

Santa Anita President Ron Charles hasn't revealed whether the track or its parent company, Canada's Magna Entertainment Corp., will join the opposition.

"There is a committee from the racing industry working to find an arrangement that will help horse racing in California and be beneficial to the tribes," he said in a statement. "Our marketing relationship with San Manuel is completely separate."

It's an awkward position for Santa Anita, and for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in San Diego County, which had a three-year marketing deal with the Barona Casino that ended in 2004 and now has an agreement with the Viejas Casino. But it won't stand in the way of business.

"We respect each other's political differences, but this is a business transaction," said Steve Lengel, executive director of operations for San Manuel. "We are both entertainment venues, and this makes great marketing sense to both of us."

Del Mar marketing director Josh Rubinstein said some people in the horse-racing industry asked him why the track would work with a competitor.

"The way we looked at it, the Indian casinos aren't going away, and the racetracks aren't going away. We weren't going to bury our head in the sand," Rubinstein said.

While San Manuel is the competition, both are in the gaming business, Santa Anita's Gutterman said. "They can introduce someone who plays slots to horseracing, or we can introduce ponies to someone who plays their games," he said.

It seems like a perfect fit to Jim Ahern, a professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo who specializes in horse racing and marketing.

"Del Mar and Santa Anita are making good decisions. It's a natural they might cooperate and develop coalitions. In the long run it makes the most sense," he said.

Terry Pierson / The Press-Enterprise
"This is a business transaction," a San Manuel executive says of the racetrack sponsorship.

Betting the ponies is no longer as popular as it once was.

Horse racing dropped from a 28 percent share of the U.S. gambling market in 1982 to a 5.2 percent share in 2000, the "victim of shifts in consumer preference," according to a 2006 gaming study by the California Attorney General's office.

While total dollars bet on horse racing has increased, most of it is now done via satellite or online wagering. In California, racetrack attendance declined 35 percent between 1990 and 2004. On-track betting decreased 59 percent, the study said.

Less money for the tracks meant smaller purses for the winners, which has driven horse owners and breeders to other states, where the cost of living is lower and the winnings can be hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars higher.

The reason for the discrepancy is because 14 states have allowed horse tracks to add slot machines or other forms or video gaming as a way to boost revenue. In California, only American Indian tribes are allowed to operate slots machines.

In 2004, the state's horse tracks and card rooms sponsored a ballot proposal that would have allowed them to operate slots as well. The initiative was vehemently opposed by the powerful gaming tribes, however, and was defeated.

Since then, California horse-racing interests have tried to convince elected officials the industry will die unless it is allowed to find another revenue source.

"Since the state has bargained away our ability to respond to competition, they should consider a way to mitigate that," said Joe Lang, lobbyist for Bay Meadows Land Co., which owns Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows Racetrack in San Mateo.

The industry needs an extra $300 million a year to survive and compete with other states, he said. Half of that would go to higher purses for race winners, the other half primarily to track improvements and advertising that would draw customers.

Marketing deals like Santa Anita's aren't enough, he added. "They are good, but they don't get to the level of what we need to really save the industry," Lang said.

The $1.5 million Barona deal was the largest marketing agreement in Del Mar's history, and included race sponsorship and radio and TV advertising.

The question is what form that would take. The tracks would still like to be able to offer some other form of gaming. If not, they want the money to come from tribal-casino profits, Lang said. The parties have been discussing options for months.

But the tribes will continue to resist more forms of gaming at the tracks.

"It has always been our position that expanded gaming in the state was rightfully addressed by the voting public," said San Manuel Band spokesman Jacob Coin.

Tribal gaming is intended to help tribal governments raise money for public improvements and services -- similar to the state lottery, he said.

"For-profit gaming exists to maximize the wealth of its private owners," Coin added.

On Saturday, however, those differences will be put aside as Santa Anita and San Manuel host a big party for the track's premier event.

"It's a great partnership," Lengel said. "It should be a lot of fun."

Reach Jonathan Shikes at 951-368-9552 or

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Since our first post, more than 178,000 visitors have accessed the details compiled uniquely at TVT.

The citizen activists behind TVT wish to extened a big "THANK YOU" to all those who have provided "tips" -- contributed pictures, documents, link suggestions, leads, reports, insight and comments. Your trust and confidence in TVT has allowed us to create a comprehensive resource that thousands of others -- including bloggers, journalists, Members of Congress and other local citizen activists around the country -- have come to rely upon.

We invite feedback and constructive comment and want you to know you are welcome to do that here in "comments" or by contacting us directly and confidentially via

Google News: Indian Gaming

NEWS: Bay Mills Indian Community & Casino Proposals

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certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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