Editorial: California tempted by bigger and glitzier tribal casinos

With the arrival of an $825 million casino from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, newspaper fears even bigger tribal gaming facilities are on the way:
In just over a decade, Indian casinos have shot from backcountry slot machine emporiums to enormous gambling meccas, an escalation completely at odds with original promises. The latest proof of this failed pledge is an $800 million operation in Rohnert Park due to open Tuesday.

The Graton Resort & Casino will be a major economic force in Sonoma County, employing some 2,000 employees and promising $20 million in annual local payments. Instead of smoke-filled gambling halls, it will offer high-end restaurants, ornate chandeliers and skylights in a main building surrounded by nearly 6,000 parking slots.

But the huge operation is a reminder of how far things have strayed from the promises made to California voters in 2000. Back then, the arguments on behalf of tribal gambling were about economic uplift and self-determination. A state ballot measure argued that impoverished tribes living in remote corners of California had few if any alternatives for economic development.

Now gambling is Vegas-scale, and casino tribes are vying against each other for prime spots. The Rohnert Park casino will jump in front of another operation 30 miles to the north in Geyserville, and that worried tribe has bought land in Petaluma for a possible operation that will be closer to Bay Area gamblers.

Get the Story:
Editorial: California's addiction to Indian casinos (The San Francisco Chronicle 11/5)

More Opinions:
Editorial: Grand hopes, fears attend casino opening (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 11/5)
Chris Smith: It's the end of life B.C. (Before Casino) (The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat 11/5)

Related Stories
Graton Rancheria to debut biggest tribal casino in California (11/4)

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