Tribal Leaders Wrap Up Gaming Forum

1 February 2002

SAN DIEGO, California – Feb. 1, 2002 –- As reported by the Palm Springs (California) Desert Sun: "…Tribal leaders, casino officials, politicians and lobbyists on Thursday wrapped up the three-day Western Indian Gaming Conference here by discussing how to capitalize on the political momentum of two successful statewide gambling initiatives by reminding voters that Indian tribes are more than glitzy casinos.

"…`The Indian-rights movement ought to be part of the civil-rights movement in this state, not part of the gambling movement,' Sacramento political strategist Richard Ross told a group of tribal leaders.

"…Ross and others said tribes should enhance their status in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and local city halls by forming personal relationships with lawmakers and providing them with accurate information.

"Jake Coin, executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, said becoming a credible source of information on Indian and gaming issues can raise the profile of tribal leaders in a more lasting way than a campaign contribution.

"…The progress that tribes have made in opposing bills that would expand gaming within the state was also discussed.

"Lobbyists warned that a bill is still pending to allow out-of-state corporations to purchase card clubs in California cities.

"…The group discussed a recent report by Stand Up For California that was heavily critical of the impact of tribal casinos on local governments.

"…People at the gaming conference dismissed the report and its author's position. They said the compact requires tribes to put a portion of the proceeds of slot-machine revenue into a special distribution fund that will go to local governments near casinos.

"The fund is expected to grow to as much as $40 million to $70 million annually. David Quintana, tribal liaison to the Senate Republican leader's office, urged the tribes to participate in the writing of a bill by Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, to ensure the money goes to communities near their casinos…"

Related Links
Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) 2002