Tribal Slots No Jackpot for California
By Peter Hecht
As California government verges on going broke, one long-promised elixir – Indian casino gambling – is proving to be not such a sure bet...
...But in recent years, some casino deals pushed by Schwarzenegger couldn't pass political muster.
The governor signed a creative, yet controversial deal to allow two poor, isolated tribes from San Diego and Humboldt counties to build side-by-side hotels and 2,000-slot casinos in Barstow in exchange for the state getting 16 percent to 25 percent of profits.
The deal failed in the Legislature amid vehement opposition from powerful Southern California tribes, calling the planned Barstow development – along Interstate 15 to Las Vegas – an egregious case of "reservation shopping."
The Barstow deal was encouraged by Schwarzenegger to settle a lawsuit from an Indian band seeking to build a casino on tribal lands bordering a pristine North Coast estuary and state parklands. The Barstow tribal partnership has since collapsed.
Virgil Moorehead, chairman of the 23-member Big Lagoon tribe, said he is returning to court to build a casino on its Humboldt County land. He said talks broke down with the governor on the tribe's request to build a temporary, 350-slot machine casino in exchange for the state finding an alternative, off-reservation site later.
"He nixed the idea," Moorehead said. "... He didn't think he could get land into trust for off-reservation gaming accomplished in his lifetime. So we're going back to court."... (Original Post)