Column: California gambling on tribal casino revenues

"California has long been engaged in its own big spin — as in downward — so our contention that the state has become overly dependent on revenue from casino gambling received some powerful backing this week.

That would be the decision by a federal appeals court in San Francisco that the state’s desire for American Indian tribes to share gambling revenue to offset the budget deficit is prohibited by federal law. And, yes, that was an unearthly groan you heard coming from the Governor’s Office.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was on a roll for several years, signing new compacts with Indian tribes to expand the size and scope of casinos throughout the state in light of California’s deepening fiscal problems. The selling point to voters and lawmakers was that it was an easy way for the state to pull in dough, with little harm from inking the deals.

So while the economy revved and people still had money to toss on the roulette table, it seemed a reasonable trade-off. But some Indian tribes objected, saying the shared revenue amounted to a federal tax, one that the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians in San Diego maintained it could no longer afford."

Get the Story:
Ken Garcia: Casino revenue no sure bet (The San Francisco Examiner 4/23)

9th Circuit Decision:
Rincon Band v. Schwarzenegger (April 20, 2010)

Earlier Story:
Republican nominees decided compact negotiation case (4/22)
California tribal casino sharing fund slowly losing money (4/22)
Schwarzenegger to ask for rehearing in compact lawsuit (4/21)
Rincon Band wins case on Class III compact negotiation (4/20)
Pauma Band awaits final ruling in gaming compact case (4/19)
Judge indicates he might invalidate Pauma casino compact (4/6)
Another California tribe wins case over slot machine cap (3/31)