Column: Good news and bad news in compact fight

"The bad news for four SoCal Indian tribes that want voters to approve deals allowing their already-big casinos to get bigger is that the public is kind of lukewarm about the idea so far.

Both public and private polls show the approval ratings of the referendums launched by opponents on the Feb. 5 ballot hovering around 50 percent, which is ordinarily not a good omen early in campaigns. Sources on both sides say the sticking point with voters appears to be language in the ballot summary that implies that under the deals, the tribes don't have to meet some state environmental standards.

But there's good news for the four tribes as well. Sources say two casino tribes, which oppose the proposed expansions for competitive reasons and helped qualify the referendums, aren't likely to put a lot more money into them between now and February. If so, other opponents – mainly labor unions and horse racing interests – will have to dig deeper to combat the well-heeled tribes once the campaigns heat up."

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Steve Wiegand: Odds are even in casino battle royal (The Sacramento Bee 11/26)