January 16, 2008

Deceptive anti-compact ad

Ad Watch:  Rich foes say gambling compacts unfair to poor

Campaign against Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97NARRATOR: "There are more than 100 Indian tribes in California, but the gambling deals on the ballot benefit the richest tribes and could devastate other tribes.

It's unfair to let four powerful tribes control one-third of the state's Indian gaming pie. Please force the Legislature to negotiate a better deal that is fair to all tribes. Vote no on 94-97."

ANALYSIS: The essential argument of the ad is true. California still has numerous tribes that face searing poverty and have reaped little gain from Indian gambling. But that doesn't apply to the narrator in this ad. Leroy Miranda is the vice chair of the wealthy Pala Band of Mission Indians, which operates nearly 2,300 slot machines at its North San Diego County casino. Pala has contributed $6.5 million to the no campaign.
Comment:  No, the ad isn't essentially true. It's essentially false. Here's why:

1) Congress intended Indian gaming to help the tribes that chose to pursue it, not every tribe. Some tribes continue to be poor because of their remoteness and lack of resources and the government's failure to live up to its obligations. That has nothing to do with Indian gaming.

2) At most the compacts may lower the profits of a few gaming tribes near the "big four." They won't "devastate" or even affect most of California's 100-plus gaming tribes. United Auburn, for instance, is hundreds of miles from the big four and doesn't compete with them.

3) The notion of a fixed "Indian gaming pie"--in which gains for some tribes mean losses for others--is false. In reality, the California market for gaming is underserved. Therefore, adding slot machines won't take business from some tribes and give it to others. It'll bring in more business for everyone.

Below: "Pala can operate an unlimited number of slot machines while Pechanga can operate only 2,000. That's unfair to us, not to Pechanga. Boo-hoo."


Anonymous said...

Let's assume that Indian gaming is designed to help all Tribes that choose to pursue it. Let's also assume that, from accidents of fate and the history of federal policies, not all Tribes will ever be in a position to take advantage of Indian gaming, due to lack of access either to resources or to market (the latter now virtually impossible to obtain thanks to the Department of Interior's recent kabosh of most off-reservation land applications). Why not spread the gaming wealth among all California Tribes in an equitable way?

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
In essence, what those protesters express is the opposite of the anti-Wal-Mart movement. The 'mom and pops' operations fear the competition of a national department store chain. Here, the big-gun casino tribes don't want 'mom and pops' casino operations to be in competition with them. This only is an observation as writerfella does foresee that, if all of Oklahoma's 35 or so Native tribes found casinoes as they truly are intending to do, many will founder since there are more people living in Dallas than live in the whole state of Oklahoma...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

Re "Why not spread the gaming wealth among all California Tribes in an equitable way?" How...by taxing gaming revenues and redistributing them to nongaming tribes? Or what, exactly?

How about if we take the revenues from every government--federal, state, local, and tribal--and redistribute them so that no group remains poor? What's the justification for limiting a redistribution plan to gaming tribes? Or to tribes, period?