Editorial: California tribes can't get free ride on casinos

"California voters have repeatedly supported Indian casinos, accepting ballot-box promises that gambling was needed to lift backcountry tribes from poverty. But as the operations flourished, another issue arose: How much should Sacramento receive from a multibillion industry?

Now a federal appeals court has weighed in to say that the state has no right to collect a tax when allowing larger casinos. It's a defeat for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who talked of collecting more than $500 million to bridge budget deficits, but a win for tribes who don't believe they owe the state anything.

One of the few controls that Sacramento has on gambling could vanish. Beyond modest subsidies to nearby communities for roads and emergency services, the casinos would pay nothing to state government, a deal no other business has.

After winning public sympathy and support, tribes are cashing in, both on the casino floor and now in court. The results have amounted to a lousy wager for California. "

Get the Story:
Editorial: Indian casinos shouldn't be getting a free ride (The San Francisco Chronicle 4/26)

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

Earlier Story:
Editorial: Appeal decision on tribal compact negotiation (4/23)
Column: Tribal casino revenues no sure bet in California (4/23)
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)