January 07, 2008

Argument for Props. 94-97

My thoughts and opinions about your money, and mine...

Why I Support “The Casino Props”[T]here are a lot of advantages for expanding Indian gaming in the state, and for these reasons I will vote “yes” on Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97:

1. Indian gaming is a reality in California for its residents and for its commerce. The casino gaming business is huge and it should be allowed to grow, as growth will mean more jobs, more revenue, and more spending in the state.

2. Money spent in Indian casinos is money that will be recycled throughout the state through payrolls, spending on hotels and restaurants, construction, and yes-- taxes.

3. Growth of the Indian casinos will keep all gaming “honest.” I don’t mean to say that any casino gaming now is “dishonest,” but by expanding Indian gaming in California the gaming industry will have more competition and that competition will prompt all of the casino gaming operators to offer better odds, better pay tables, and better payoffs and complimentaries (comps) and incentives to their players, and better salaries and benefits to their workers.


'aamokat said...

Rob, you know the main reasons why I am against at least one of the gaming propositions but leaving that aside for a moment I would like to point out that only four of the 108 California tribes, tribes who already have huge gaming operations, are the ones who will be getting a virtual monopoly on gaming in California.

I don't think it is explained enough that very few of the tribes in our state are involved in these new agreements.

I think voters may be under the impression that all tribes will gain significantly from these measures.

Why do they need casinos much bigger than any Las Vegas casino?

The "Big Four" tribes would not be losing a thing if these ballots measures are rejected.

Also, wasn't former governor Gray Davis recalled mainly for fiscal mismanagement.

Is the state any better off with Governor Swartzenegger in charge?

I think he and the other polticians should learn to budget wisely than they wouldn't have to look for ways like trying to rely on expanded gaming for revenue.

Rob said...

I can't vouch for what the voters think, but the facts are clear. Four tribes will benefit from the four propositions.

A virtual monopoly? I don't think so. It can't be a monopoly on gambling, since other casinos, card rooms, and racetracks will continue to operate. Perhaps you mean a monopoly on slot machines?

Actually, most casinos compete in a limited geographic area--maybe a radius of 100 miles. Morongo, Agua Caliente, and Pechanga may dominant the Inland Empire, but that's about it. San Manuel and Chumash will remain much closer to the Los Angeles market than any of the big four.

No tribal casino in Los Angeles County or further north has anything to fear. The increased competition won't affect them. Whatever phony reason Northern California groups are giving for opposing the compacts, it has nothing to do with market share.

Even in Southern California, the "increased competition" argument is semi-bogus. Suppose Pala and Pechanga each have 2,000 customers for 2,000 slots. Now give Pechanga another 2,000 slots. Why should Pala's customers leave for Pechanga...because it's less crowded? Not if Pechanga draws 2,000 (or more) new customers.

And what if Pala offers better machines? Or superior service? There's no reason for its customers to leave for a casino with more slots if they're satisfied with Pala's offerings.

If a tribe doesn't like its compact, the solution isn't to stifle the competition. It's to do what the big four did: renegotiate. Who's stopping Pala and the others from cutting the same deal as the big four? No one, that's who.

Rob said...

I didn't vote for Schwarzenegger. I said at the time that he'd be a mediocre governor. And so he's proved to be.

It was obvious his fiscal policies were the usual smoke and mirrors. Like every idiotic Republican, he thought he could continue spending while cutting taxes. Like every idiotic Republican, he's caused a soaring deficit with his economic incompetence.

The question of how big is too big is a philosophical conundrum. Is Wal-Mart too big? How about Microsoft? Verizon? Intel? ExxonMobil? Google? How about if we break up these companies or curtail their growth? Why not if there's such a thing as a too-big business?

I think all casinos should pay the costs of increased traffic, crime, and problem gambling. I'd go further and build some limits into the games themselves. (E.g., a mandatory break after an hour of playing.) But growth for growth's sake isn't necessarily bad, and it's the American way.

Rob said...

Let's get the facts straight on Pala and United Auburn, the two tribes that oppose the compacts. They're already allowed an unlimited number of slots. They're fighting deals that would level the playing field.

United Auburn, a Northern California tribe, doesn't even compete with the big four. It has no legitimate reason for opposing the compacts. It's doing so because it wants to maintain its power in intertribal politics.


The compacts would allow the four tribes, all of which have 2,000 slot machines, to operate some of the biggest casinos in the world. Sycuan and Agua Caliente could have 5,000 slots each, and Pechanga and Morongo could have up to 7,500 each. Agua Caliente also could build a third casino.

The 2004 compacts negotiated by Pala and United Auburn permit unlimited slots for a graduated fee that increases with the number of machines. In contrast, the pending compacts collect a percentage of net win--about 9 percent on existing machines, 15 percent on those over 2,000 and 25 percent for any over 5,000.

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