Column: New California governor will face tough issues on gaming

"In his first five weeks as governor, Jerry Brown has been focusing on three issues: the budget mess, the budget mess, and the budget mess.

That's good, because the budget with its $25.4 billion deficit certainly is a mess. But governors face many issues, and in the coming months, he will need to confront one that has kept the past three governors busy – gambling.

For most of the campaign, Brown was mute or ambiguous when questions turned to Indian tribes' monopoly on slot machines and Las Vegas-styles casinos.

He has not revealed whether he intends to follow the lead of his predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, by insisting that tribes pay into the state's general fund in exchange for expanding their casinos. But he will have to face that question soon.

In a case with serious implications for this state and others, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide next month whether to review a lower-court decision barring California from collecting payments from tribes in exchange for granting them more slot machines."

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Dan Morain: Bet on it: Gambling issue will soon arise (The Sacramento Bee 2/3)