Opinion: Off-reservation casinos a good idea for Barstow

$stalker "The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla Indians of San Diego County is easily more than 100 miles from Barstow, while the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Humboldt County is well over several hundred miles away. Barstow has no reservation lands and no existing tribe had true aboriginal land in Barstow.

A closer look at the tribes not wanting the Los Coyotes/Big Lagoon Tribes to be allowed 'off-reservation' casinos in Barstow, however happen to be some of California's most powerful gambling tribes, and their concerns relating to unionization and taxation issues are certainly valid.

But the question remains as to whether these tribes are most concerned about the precedent of allowing tribal casinos on non-Indian lands, which in the long-run could pose a threat to 'the tribal-monopoly on gaming in California,' or whether they simply do not want the competition that casinos in Barstow would pose.

The Los Coyotes/Big Lagoon Tribes have unique and special circumstances for wanting to develop an off-reservation casino. This type of gaming is permitted by federal law when addressing 'specific reservation locations.' The complicated part of the deal is that the Department of the Interior, state legislature, hovernor and local communities all have a say in the matter, which of course makes this type of proposition a bureaucratic nightmare.

The Los Coyotes Tribe is one of the smallest and poorest tribes in California and its location in a very rural area of San Diego County would make that location impossible for such a project.

The Big Lagoon tribal land in Humboldt County is an environmentally sensitive, pristine coastal area surrounded by state parks and is the home to a variety of special-status plants and animals. Locating a casino in Barstow, rather than in this environmentally delicate coastal area, would be a better alternative and makes a lot of sense."

Get the Story:
Carol Jensen: Casinos in Barstow a win-win situation (The Desert Dispatch 2/12)