When the first reports appeared that the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation was Initiative 892’s (Slots for Tots) largest financial backer, both the company and Tim Eyman were dismissive. Contributions were scattered through a number of “local” subsidiaries in an attempt to hide the money’s foreign origins. But it is no surprise that the company that has the most to gain by I-892’s passage would be eager to bankroll its campaign.
Great Canadian has gradually been consolidating its Washington presence, and today the company announced that it is buying out its remaining partner for $5.4 million (US dollars,) giving it 100% ownership of its casino properties in Algona, Everett, Tukwila, Tacoma and Kent.
Great Canadian dominates the British Columbia gambling industry, and it has made public statements about its intention to replicate that model here. Voters need to understand that I-892 is a blatant attempt by a Canadian company to use Canadian dollars to put an initiative on the Washington ballot that serves its own corporate self-interests.
I-892 is a new low for a once populist initiative process that is increasingly hijacked by monied special interests. And it sets a terrible precedent for future initiative campaigns.