Frustration grows over bingo deadlock
The threat escalates what has been an already nasty political battle in the Capitol between charities and gaming tribes over the types of bingo games that nonprofits can offer.
Frustration over the deadlock grew this week, with charities accusing tribes of undermining legislation that would allow nonprofits to offer a new paper bingo game that connects games statewide in real-time video. “Remote caller bingo” would increase interest, build larger jackpots and pump more money into nonprofit causes, supporters say.
“We are ready to go into a boycott,” said the Rev. Joseph Shea, pastor of St. Rose of Lima, a 5,000-member Catholic church in Simi Valley. “We call this a need vs. greed issue.”
“I don't know why they feel some ante needs to be upped,” said Alison Harvey, executive director of the California Tribal Business Alliance. “We're still talking about this and they sound like they've thrown in the towel.”
Tribes are interested in containing nontribal bingo, not eliminating it, she said. Tribes are willing to concede to some growth in jackpots, now a maximum of $250. But they oppose efforts by nonprofits to allow winnings to reach as much as 37 percent of the receipts of each game, Harvey said.
Tribes also want to see restrictions on the frequency of bingo nights and oppose proposals that would allow paid outsiders to run the games, Harvey said. “They want to turn this into a huge commercial enterprise with no limit on the pot,” she said.
Writerfella here --
There may be separation of church and state, but that legal interregnum does not mean that churches are immune from Federal or state law. For years, 'bingo' mostly was excused from strict legal control if the merchants had a positive aspect to their conduct of gaming, such as charity That is how Native tribes entered such an arena originally. But when Native sovereignty abruptly became part and parcel to Native gaming, they were able to leave charity behind. And that is where the other 'bingo' operatives were left in the dust. They still were bound by individual state statutes governing their form of gambling, but Native tribes were not. Poor babies! At least, writerfella knows that the Catholic Church has a better chance of preventing abortions than it has of trying to become equal with Native gaming. The Catholic Church is not a 'tribe.' It is one thing to envy a successful rivalry and quite another to gain 'sovereignty,' even under the law...
"Tribes are interested in containing nontribal bingo, not eliminating it"
I don't think the tribes have any leg of legitimacy to stand on, in this issue. It looks like nothing more than one business entity using the government to ban competition.
Competition from other entities should be allowed, and competition does not infringe on tribal sovereignty or tribes' internal affairs or how they conduct their business in any way.
Competition is a reality. Deal with it by competing, not by pressuring the government to abuse its power by "deciding" which competing business is better than the other.
Writerfella here --
The idea of competition is worthy but the ideal of competition is not a reality. Take the Cold War: two competing economic systems built like forces of massively destructive weapons that for forty years threatened the life of every human on earth.
Then again, look how long and hard Donald Trump and other monied interests tried to prevent the emergence of Native gaming. They surely did not think much of the idea that competition could and should be a reality.
In point of fact, the Catholic Church is saying allow us to hold high-stakes gambling or we're taking our congregations and going home, no doubt to Popeville...
In most states, tribal casinos couldn't compete with nontribal casinos because of the tribes' remote locations. That's why tribes put the argument to the states (and in some cases, to the voters): Let us have casinos and we'll limit them to tribal lands.
Since voters approved this arrangement (either directly or indirectly, through their representatives), it's an example of democracy in action. If Americans want to give a so-called "monopoly" to Indians, it's their right to do so.
The states and tribes have signed compacts, a form of government-to-government treaty. Now the churches are trying an end run around these legally binding agreements. The tribes have every right to protest the breaking of agreements that they signed and the voters approved.
If the churches don't like it, they can launch an initiative to overturn the previously passed initiatives. If they win the vote, more power to them. But declaring that they have the right to ignore the law and do whatever they want is neither fair nor democratic.
Writerfella here --
Rob, BINGO! He shoots, he scores! Huzzah!
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