California | Compacts | Opinion
Editorial: Vote yes on tribal gaming compacts

"The decision on Props. 94 through 97 on the Feb. 5 ballot depends on voters sorting through a battle between competing special interests to find the public's stake. One crucial point should make that task easier: California is better off with the new tribal gambling compacts these measures represent than continuing with the current agreements.

The four ballot measures are a referendum on new gambling compacts the governor and Legislature approved last year. A yes vote would ratify deals with the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians near Temecula, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Cabazon, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation near El Cajon and the Agua Caliente Band of Mission Indians in Palm Springs.

The new compacts would allow the four tribes, which now have rights to operate a total of 8,000 Las Vegas-style slot machines, to install another 17,000 slot machines combined. In return, the tribes would send more money to the state from gambling profits, with the payments to California growing as casinos expand.

A bid by special interests drives the campaign against the new deals. The big opposition comes from horse tracks, labor unions and two other California tribes with thriving casinos. Heading off competition for gambling business and furthering unionization make for self-serving politics, not a public-spirited agenda. "

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Editorial: Yes on 94-97 (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 1/3)