Column: Competition a big issue for tribal gaming in California

Columnist looks at the debate over new casinos, including off-reservation casinos, in California:
Naturally, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and their partners, Station Casinos of Las Vegas, are against any more casinos. They haven’t said so formally, but Station Casinos isn’t exactly a big fan of providing press releases to the media.

River Rock Casino, up near Geyserville in Alexander Valley, is also against more casinos. They’re owned by the Dry Creek tribe and also owners of acreage at Haystack Landing on the Petaluma River on Petaluma’s southern edge.

The Dry Creek tribe has been asked if they plan to build a casino here, but they heatedly deny it, saying “all we want is housing for our people and a small shopping center.” If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d love to sell you.

Naturally, Station Casinos does not want to see a casino between theirs on Golf Course Drive West on RP’s border, for major casino traffic here comes from Marin County and the greater SF Bay Area, not Santa Rosa or Healdsburg.

Critics of adding more casinos call it “reservation shopping,” for locations mentioned are all 50, 100 or 150 miles from their reservations.

This brings up the major bone of contention underlying the whole “reservation” dilemma. No one can deny Indian tribes were scattered up and down California for thousands of years before Jim Bridger scaled the mountains near Lake Tahoe and glimpsed the valley east of the Sierra Nevada. They were mostly nomads, they didn’t leave any Sphinx, Pyramids, Greek Parthenon, Venus de Milo statues or Roman Coliseum in their wake.

Get the Story:
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