More than you wanted to know about the proposed Spokane gaming compact

In recent weeks I have written quite strongly about the proposed gaming compact between the state and the Spokane tribe, warning that it could dramatically expand gambling in Washington state, and cautioning Gov. Chris Gregoire about the potential political consequences should she approve it. It is no secret that I am not a fan of the gaming industry. Knowing what I know about the economic, social and emotional costs of gambling addiction, I oppose any expansion of gambling in Washington state.

That said, I had the opportunity Tuesday to speak at length about this issue with Gov. Gregoire’s Chief of Staff Tom Fitzsimmons, and after poring over the details I must admit that the Spokane compact is not as bad as I had at first feared. It will still expand tribal gambling in WA state, but not nearly as massively as initial press reports had suggested.

To understand the compact and its potential impact one must first understand the basic legal principles governing tribal gaming. Federal law states that tribes may engage in the same gambling activities already legal in the state, and that if requested by a recognized tribe, the state must negotiate a governing compact in good faith. Furthermore, unless otherwise waived, each individual tribe retains favored nation status, meaning they have the right to reopen compacts and negotiate the same terms and conditions granted any other tribe in the state.

The existing tribal compacts grant each tribe an allocation of 675 slot machines each, and with one exception (we’ll get to that later) a maximum of two casinos. As has been widely reported the proposed Spokane compact authorizes the tribe to operate up to 4,700 slot machines at as many as five locations. This would appear to set the stage for a massive expansion of tribal gaming as the other tribes reopened their compacts to demand the same deal: more casinos, more slots, more gambling.

Well… not exactly.

While each tribe is allocated the right to own 675 slot machines, some are authorized to operate as many as 2000 at a single facility using machines leased from smaller tribes that do not operate casinos of their own. In fact the number of casinos and machines authorized in the Spokane compact is actually quite similar to the terms of the compact granted the Colville tribe, which is authorized to operate 4,800 machines at as many as six locations.

So why can’t the other tribes use their favored nation status to demand a similar number of casinos and authorized slot machines? Because they can’t meet the same conditions.

Both the Spokanes and the Colvilles have sprawling reservations, and their compacts stipulate that their casinos be located at least twenty-five miles apart. Fitzsimmons implied that no other tribe can meet that stipulation, and thus no other tribe can demand the same deal. (Though looking at the map, I wonder about the Yakimas.)

Where the Spokane compact does depart from previous compacts is the fact that it grants an allocation of 900 slot machines, not 675. The 27 other recognized tribes can reopen their compacts to obtain the same 900 machine allocation, potentially increasing the total number of tribal slot machines statewide by about a third, from 18,225 to 25,200. In fact, that’s the whole point.

See, most of the existing allocation is already spoken for, so by coming to the table late, the Spokanes would otherwise be unable to lease additional slot machines to fill their casinos. They already operate about 500 Las Vegas style slots (illegally), but there is little the state can do to remove them, so there would be no incentive for the Spokanes to agree to a compact that doesn’t give them the opportunity to expand their operations. It’s not the extra 225-machine allocation that makes the deal work for the Spokanes, its the thousands of additional machines that will now be available for them to lease.

In addition to the increased allocation, the Spokanes have negotiated a number of other new goodies into their compact. Currently, slot machines are limited to a maximum $5 bet, but the Spokanes would be allowed to raise this betting limit to $20 on as many as 15-percent of their machines. Existing compacts require that players use coupons or cards to initiate play, but the Spokane compact for the first time permits using US coins and currency. And finally, the Spokanes have negotiated higher betting limits (essentially, none) at five gaming tables in one facility during a specified time period of up to 120 days each year.

Like the higher 900-machine allocation, the other tribes would have the right to reopen their compacts to obtain the same terms.

But… only if they agree to the same conditions. Like other compacts the Spokanes have agreed to pay 2-percent of net receipts into a local mitigation fund, and to contribute another 1-percent to charity. But the Spokanes have also agreed to contribute 0.13-percent to problem gambling treatment and prevention programs (the same contribution now required of commercial card rooms,) and have the option of either contributing an additional 0.13-percent to smoking cessation programs or make all of its facilities smoke free.

So… what does all this mean?

When it comes to the number of facilities and authorized machines, the Spokanes demanded the same sort of deal negotiated by the Colvilles. Given the Spokanes’ favored nation status, the state really couldn’t do anything about that. But this authorization would be totally worthless to the Spokanes without a larger universe of slot machines from which to lease, so while nothing requires the state to bump up the allocation from 675 to 900, there’s a certain irrefutable logic to doing so.

And you can be sure that the 27 other tribes will most definitely reopen their compacts to obtain the higher allocation, even if it means agreeing to the new problem gambling and smoking cessation contributions. Slot machines are the lifeblood of the gambling industry, accounting for the overwhelming majority of casino profits. This is money in the bank.

What the state gets from this is an end to the Spokanes’ illegal operations, relatively uniform compact terms across all 28 tribes — and assuming all the tribes seek the same deal — about $2.6 million a year in additional funding for problem gambling treatment and prevention programs.

Is it worth it?

I’d hate to think that the only way to secure adequate problem gambling contributions is to give the tribes something in return. A handful of tribes already make voluntary contributions, and one would have hoped that all the tribes would have been willing to do their part to mitigate a problem gambling epidemic that is largely one of their own making. Slot machines are by far the most addictive gambling activity — they are scientifically designed to create compulsion — and it bothers me to know that desperately needed problem gambling treatment funds have been negotiated at the expense of a one-third increase in the number of tribal slot machines statewide. But I can’t for the life of me see why the Spokanes would agree to a compact that didn’t increase the number of slot machines available for lease, so at the very least I’m grateful that the state insisted on including the problem gambling contribution as a precondition.

As for the cash-fed machines and higher betting limits, well, it may seem like a quibble, but that’s a departure from existing compacts that I simply cannot support.

Personally, I’d stick with the status quo and reject the compact. Yes, the Spokanes would continue to operate about 500 Las Vegas style slot machines, but without a legal compact they’ll never secure the financing necessary to expand their current operations. Given this context, I can’t help but think that the state has the leverage to cut a better deal.

Still, the deal is not nearly as bad as initial press reports led me to believe, and thus I doubt the political consequences will be as dire as I had at first predicted.

Comments

  1. 1

    Right Stuff spews:

    As posted on the last gambling topic.

    Right Stuff says:

    @7
    “But we had I-892, and the people of Washington spoke quite clearly against the expansion of gambling.”

    In my opinion, you had the tribes spending millions to defeat this initiative that would have ended their monopoly….They out spent the I-892 campaign by a very wide margin….All under the guise of “lets not expand gambling in Washington” what nonesense. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…

    And the Gov is just paying off her marker….The tribes have been pumping money into the D party and the now Gov’s various campaigns over the years. It is irrefutible that the tribes are the most powerful lobby in this state.

    So in my opionion this is just payoff……paid for from revenue that the state would/could otherwise have for say……healthcare for “safety net folks” or more money for education……..or a new tunnel…If only the state allowed private casino’s to have slots and taxed them at say 70%…….

    Oregon did this one right.

    01/31/2007 at 10:09 am

  2. 2

    busdrivermike spews:

    So…drinking liberally…good
    gambling liberally……bad?

    Are you effing kidding? Do you have any idea how badly the white man has treated the Native Americans in this State?
    Did you know that there used to be Apartheid in downtown Seattle? How much land was stolen from the various tribes? What was the poverty rate on the reservations in the 1970′s, versus today when a tribe has gambling?

    Hey, smart guy, why don’t you think before you post? The State of Washington has no rights here, the people of Washington has an interest. And the people of Washington owe the Native Americans big time.

  3. 3

    spews:

    Right Stuff @1,

    The voters overwhelmingly rejected I-892, because they didn’t want the massive expansion of gambling into their neighborhoods that it would bring. Under I-892 every restaurant, bar, and bowling alley that currently offered pull-tabs would have the right to put in slot machines. It would have doubled the number of slot machines, adding an additional 18,225, and put them into nearly every community in the state, dramatically expanding access to the most addictive form of gambling ever devised.

    To be fair, the Spokane compact does not do this. It does potentially increase the number of tribal slot machines by a third, but does not add new locations other than the Spokanes’ own casinos.

    And to call it political payback ignores reality. The state has no choice but to negotiate a compact that gives them the same terms as the Colvilles. And one wonders if court would consider it a “good faith” negotiation to authorize 4700 machines, while knowing that the Spokanes have little or no opportunity to lease machines above a 675 machine allocation.

    Remember, there was a compact proposed in 2005 that would have given the Spokanes a helluva lot more in exchange for revenue sharing with the state, and the Governor rejected that.

  4. 4

    spews:

    busdrivermike @2,

    That’s just an asinine approach. I oppose expanding gambling, and oppose the specific terms of this compact, so somehow I’m an evil white man who hates Native Americans. Fuck you.

  5. 5

    Right Stuff spews:

    I-892 aside, No thanks Tim Eyman, quite or run for damn office…..

    The state of WA could really insulate itself against “regressive sales tax revenue inconsitency” by legalizing slots for private casino’s and tax the snot out of them..I am in favor of sin taxes, especially one like this….. Private casino’s, not taverns or anyplace lotter tickets are sold, could be authorized to have slots.
    I was not for I-892. Not becuase of expanded gambling, just poor execution of an issue I think could benefit state revenues. People are going to gamble.

    As to I-892′s overwhelming rejection? The tribes put on a massive and effective campaign against this initiative. Not because of concern for expansion of gambling, but to protect their monopoly.

  6. 6

    janet s spews:

    I still wonder why anyone gets all pious about the tribes and gambling while the state runs the lottery. I guess some gambling is good, other gambling is bad.

    The Democrat party is owned by the tribes in this state. The tribes say jump, and the party asks how high.

    It is just a continuing story of the corruption in the Dem party. Now Nancy Pelosi wants access to Military transport for her, her staff, her colleagues, her family, probably even her dog. Diane Feinstein votes on appropriations for her husband’s businesses. Alan Mollohan uses campaign funds to pay his legal bills for the FBI investigating his funneling money to his family, but will still vote on FBI issues.

  7. 7

    busdrivermike spews:

    Hey

    Go read a history book, pal. It is full of white men thinking that glossing over history is not assinine.

    The Indians should be able to do anything they want inside their NATION, dumbshit.

  8. 8

    John Barelli spews:

    Janet S. wrote:
    “I still wonder why anyone gets all pious about the tribes and gambling while the state runs the lottery. I guess some gambling is good, other gambling is bad.”

    Well, as a Democrat, I tend to agree that Governor Spellman should not have started the state down this road in the first place. (Yep, he was one of yours, and he signed the Washington lottery legislation.)

    But before we get further into pointing at each other, I think we can both agree that it’s far easier to start something like this than it is to stop it, and the State was facing some tough financial decisions at the time.

    Busdrivermike wrote:
    “Hey, smart guy, why don’t you think before you post? The State of Washington has no rights here, the people of Washington has an interest. And the people of Washington owe the Native Americans big time.”

    Actually, the State of Washington does have some rights here, and nobody is suggesting that we remove the casinos from the reservations, nor is anyone suggesting that the Native Americans haven’t gotten a very raw deal over a very long time.

    Complaints about the fact that it isn’t “fair” that the tribes be treated differently than the minicasino operators tend to fall of deaf ears, as most of us recognize that they got a raw deal and are now finally able to turn part of that deal to their advantage, much like the portions of the treaties regarding fishing and other tribal rights.

    What we owe the Native Americans is honest dealing and complete compliance with the treaties, even when it turns out that those treaties give them something we want. Looking at our track record, I’m pretty sure that the tribes will be very happy if we simply do that. (Members of local Native American Nations are welcome to join in here.)

    But we don’t owe them carte blanche. You are welcome to disagree, but I doubt that you’ll manage to convince enough people to go along to make much of a difference.

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    ” … a one-third increase in the number of tribal slot machines statewide … ”

    But they’re all in tribal casinos, so it’s not a problem for people who stay out of tribal casinos.

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 “It is irrefutible that the tribes are the most powerful lobby in this state.”

    Oh, I doubt that. Boeing is still the state’s most powerful lobby. BIAW is more powerful than the tribes. So are innumerable other interest groups. The tribes really don’t sway much that the legislature does.

  11. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 “People are going to gamble … ”

    They’re also going to speed, drive drunk, get HIV from prostitutes, etc. — so are you saying we should make no attempt to control the ill effects of bad behavior because it’s human nature?

    Problem gambling does more than empty the wallets of addictive gamblers — it breaks up families and creates social problems that become a financial burden to the state and its taxpayers.

  12. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 (continued) Eyman’s claim that tax revenues from expanded gambling could replace a major share of existing state taxes is a myth.

    As I’ve pointed out before in my posts, Eyman’s assertions that slots could reduce property taxes by $400 million a year assumes that every household in Washington would spend thousands of dollars a year in slot machines. What nonsense.

    In Las Vegas, slots typically pay out 92% to 98% of gross. Nationwide, the lowest paying slots are about 85%; gamblers simply won’t patronize machines that pay lower. Let’s say the state taxes 25% of the net (“house”) take on a 90% payout. (Does anyone really believe gambling operators would agree to a 70% tax rate?) This means the state would get 2.5% of gross, and you would need a gross of 40 times Eyman’s $400 million to raise that much revenue.

    Do the math … that’s $16 billion a year dropped in slots, which represents roughly 7.5% of the state’s personal income. Put another way, that would require a household of 4 persons to spend over $10,000 a year on gambling.

    Nonsense. Sheer nonsense.

  13. 14

    spews:

    so, goldy, you suddenly change your tune?
    and just after talking to one of gregoire’s toadies…….

    can anyone here say…..SELL OUT???????

    so, maybe that’s where the “extra” $600.00 came from, hmmm?

  14. 15

    skagit spews:

    Well, thanks for doing your homework, Goldstein. I gave the gov credit for being smart, too bad you didn’t. Your blog’s moving a little right for me. Rumours . . . priggish need to monitor other people’s morals . . . don’t like it.

    As for cash instead of coupons? I love Las Vegas gambling – hearing the drop of coins is exciting and makes the experience more fun. Course, if you think it is your right to prevent me from doing what I like, so be it.

    Contributing to addiction programs, etc. – sure, the gov should require tha since she can. I still have a problem with the State in any way preventing Indians from doing whatever they can to create an economy that works for them. Just like I think we have no business telling anyone in Central America, South America, Afghanitan or any where else in the world not to grow any substance we don’t like just because Americans can’t make better choices.

    I don’t need a mommy . . . maybe you do.

  15. 18

    skagit spews:

    ChristmasGhost-hag (thanks, froggy), could you actually post something that furthers the conversation? After a while, cute gets boring.

  16. 19

    John Barelli spews:

    Roger Rabbit said:

    But they’re all in tribal casinos, so it’s not a problem for people who stay out of tribal casinos.

    This has been my main complaint with the compact all along. As long as the casinos are on the reservation, I have little problem with the rest of the compact.

    There is a potential problem with casinos on non-reservation land. busdrivermike made a few comments about the Native Americans being able to do whatever they want in their nation.

    While I disagree with him on the specifics of that post, as no nation, including the United States can do anything it wants, without regards to treaties, agreements and international law, I see some validity in the spirit of his post. On the reservation, negotiate compacts in good faith and if I don’t want to gamble, I don’t have to go there.

    Off-reservation is a different matter, and that is what concerns me. Just because the United States owns property in Mexico (for example) doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want on that property. With very few exceptions, Mexican law would still apply, and the Mexicans should not be required to even consider “in good faith” our requests to use that land in violation of Mexican law.

    The same should apply here. The Governor should not be required to consider any uses of off-reservation land that would not be allowed for anyone else. We shouldn’t need to bring in batteries of lawyers to fight very well funded gambling interests that want to turn Seattle, Tacoma or (more to my concern) Gig Harbor into Las Vegas.

  17. 20

    spews:

    Skagit… my blog’s moving a little right? Because I oppose expanding gambling? The second post I ever wrote on HA, way back in May of 2004 was an anti slot machine post. I’ve been consistent since day one.

  18. 21

    John Barelli spews:

    Oh, one last-minute thought before I have to go and try to earn a living.

    While I am very much in favor of honoring treaty obligations and dealing with the Native American Nations honestly, I do not hold with the argument that says that all of the land was theirs to begin with.

    Yes, we took it from them, and they took it from the folks that were here before them, and so on and so forth. Welcome to the reality of human history, from every race and every people on every continent on the planet.

    In the words of Senator Hayakawa, “We stole it, fair and square.”

    When we’re honest enough to admit to that reality, we will be honest enough to treat people fairly.

  19. 22

    Broadway Joe spews:

    @19:

    Uh, that cat is already out of the bag. The one thing has not been mentioned the whole time is exactly why the Spokanes decided to play nice with the State. They have competition. The Kalispel tribe, which is based in Usk, about an hour north of Spokane, already have an off-reservation casino, Northern Quest, over by the Spokane Airport. In business parlance, the Spokanes are trying to get back into their own market.

  20. 23

    spews:

    john……the people that were here before them? and just who would that be?

    and skagit…”ChristmasGhost-hag (thanks, froggy), could you actually post something that furthers the conversation? After a while, cute gets boring.”
    talk about ‘cute’…..and if it’s boring for you then you know what they say….don’t read it.
    so, name calling isn’t ‘cute’, rhetorical questioning of a mooch are?
    interesting………

  21. 28

    skagit spews:

    Barelli @ 19: as no nation, including the United States can do anything it wants, without regards to treaties, agreements and international law,

    Ah, c’mon. Do some research before you post such a blatantly incorrect comment. The US may be one of the most reckless historically in sticking to Indian treaties and international agreements.

  22. 29

    skagit spews:

    Barelli: Yes, we took it from them, and they took it from the folks that were here before them, and so on and so forth. Welcome to the reality of human history, from every race and every people on every continent on the planet.

    In the words of Senator Hayakawa, “We stole it, fair and square.”

    Spoken like a true real estate dealer.

    I’d like you to document all the populations of people that were here before the Native Americans – if you can. Oh, and remind me not to trust a deal who thinks stealing if “fair and square.”

    Really, what convenient ethics you all have.

    Can we start calling you “daddy” Goldstein?

  23. 31

    skagit spews:

    Geez, Barelli, read more accurately. I just went to the Wiki site . . .

    First, populations preceding Indians were probably ancestral to them . . . meaning that whomever was here were them and they kept multiplying.

    Second, the theory about aboriginals is still a “theory.” and may or may not be true. Also, little is known about the numbers of them . . .they may have died out on their own or been assimilated completely.

    Your reference does nothing to counter the argument that we stole if from native populations which – according to Howard Zinn – numbered just over a million people (if I remember correctly).

  24. 32

    spews:

    Ok, just to try to set this to rest. Probably won’t work, but it’s worth a try.

    I’ve always liked that quote from Senator Hayakawa, as he spoke honestly and openly, something very rare in politicians of any stripe.

    We stole this land, and we aren’t giving it back, nor are we likely to give anything to the remaining Native Americans that is anything close to the value of what we took from them. How could we?

    Here’s what we can do.

    The Native American Nations have legitimate claims, based on treaties that they signed in good faith. No, our side probably did not sign them in good faith, and it is only in recent years that we have paid anything but lip service to our obligations under those treaties. Even now, there are people that want to ignore those treaties. (Talk to a salmon fisherman.)

    Due primarily to public pressure from folks that finally realized that we had not only taken their land, but weren’t even living up to the agreements whereupon we took it, along with a court system that finally decided that properly signed treaties had the force of law, the treaties have finally started to be properly enforced.

    This is a very good thing, and it is only in recent history that such a thing could have happened.

    Honesty, at least with ourselves is important if we’re going to be honest with others. Why are any of us that are not full-blooded Native Americans here? Because a bunch of folks from Europe came here and pushed their way across the continent. They were not especially nice folks, and many of them did their level best to wipe out the native population.

    That is where we are today, and we might as well be honest about it.

    While I’m sure that a case could be made that I, and every other non-tribal person living on the continents of North and South America should head back to Europe, I’m also honest enough to simply say that it isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to try to come up with some lame reason justifying this decision, it just is.

    I could even come up with the equally lame excuse that my ancestors had nothing to do with the current situation, as they didn’t even get here until the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    I recognize this as disingenuous. I live here now, enjoying the fruits of what can only be called conquest, and I’m not going to leave.

    But, I will do my level best to ensure that the treaties that those ancestors conned the Native Americans into signing are honored. Even though the folks on my side had no intention of honoring them, and even though they had a long history of ignoring them whenever it suited them, I will do what I can to make sure they are honored.

    And it’s about time, too.

  25. 33

    spews:

    Oh, and Skagit – current theories are that there were up to four major migrations, and may have also been a bunch of smaller ones, where the folks living on the land were pushed aside by the folks coming in.

    No, this does not, in any way, justify what was done to the Native Americans that were here when the Europeans pushed their way across the continent.

    Our country has a long history of ignoring treaties with the Native Americans whenever it suited them. At long last, we are finally honoring those treaties. You could easily make the case that the Native American Nations would be justified in ignoring their obligations under those treaties, as our side has ignored our obligations for so long.

    I think this would be a terrible mistake, as it’s only now that the Native American Nations are beginning to get some benefit from those treaties. If we can just get all sides to honor them, it will be a huge step forward for the Native American Nations.

  26. 34

    skagit spews:

    Migrations, yes. Doesn’t mean the original populations were killed or died out other than by natural causes. . . that’s all. It is all theoretical . . .

    Regarding your anscestors not being part of the great genocide . . . hey, ever heard of “being in possession of stolen property?” You’re not off the hook completely.

    Finally, you do see things more black and white – hey, we did it so get over it. Sorry. Not my way. Would I give back territory? Yeah, to the extent I could. Bill Bradley once suggested giving part of the Dakotas back to the Lukoda???? Not sure, but he did suggest such a thing. Ah, the White Man . . . can’t let go of anything! I think he suggested it because there really isn’t much there anyway and they inhabited it for many, many generations.

    There are ways, Sir Barelli.

  27. 35

    busdrivermike spews:

    Why don’t we quit dancing around, and call it what it is:

    The quiet subjugation of Native Americans through economic regulation.

    The problem Goldy has is that he believes gambling is bad. Well, go to the Tulalip reservation, and tell it to all the Tulalips who can now afford to send their kids to college. Then take a hike to Neah Bay, where the tribe still gathers in WWII quonset huts, and a lot of people are dirt poor.

    The only thing that should stop the Natives from putting in more slots is the law of supply and demand.

    I hope someday the Tribes have enough money to bribe the chiefs in both political parties, then swindle them out of some land.

    That would be just and ironic at the same time.

  28. 36

    skagit spews:

    You are a good person, busdrivermike . . .

    I don’t know what breeds out any sort of compassion and a sense of justice in people.

  29. 37

    spews:

    skagit….yup..that’s much cuter.
    as far as john goes….what do you expect from a real estate agent? come on. they are a cross between an attorney and a used car salesman all wrapped up as a parlor snake.

    you know, the lakota sioux got the WORST deal in the entire states. pine ridge rez is a horrible place.
    but i have to say that i have never in my life seen such blatant racism against native americans as i did while living in washington. it was appalling….and all in liberal-land.the things people would say and do….appalling.
    and i guess they must have been using john’s theory too. hey…we stole it ,get over it, so what?
    if there is a group of people in this country that DESERVES restitution it’s the native americans. are they represented in the government? hell no. they aren’t represented anywhere. and look at the far left’s poster child…ward churchill, who took a job AWAY from a native american because he lied about being native american. yup….he’s so “native” that if he got a nosebleed what little blood [and there is none] he had, would be gone.
    what i find so incredibly disturbing is that while we are all supposed to feel horrible for slavery [and yes it was horrible...but have any of you owned slaves? no? your parents? no?] native americans are STILL being ripped off…present tense. it’s not just some PAST wrong…it’s happening today.
    and what does john say? yeah…we ripped them off, so what.
    oh brother………

  30. 38

    Jesse spews:

    What do you mean by “Las Vegas style slots”?

    I know that the slot machines at casinos such as Northern Quest aren’t real slot machines, they’re “tribal lottery systems” where each outcome is decided by a central computer, and the reels spinning on the video screen are just for show. I wasn’t aware that any tribes in the state operate actual slot machines, where the outcome of each spin on each machine is independent of any other machines.

  31. 39

    skagit spews:

    I thought he meant that they want slots that accept coins rather than paper . . . hate the paper!

    Didn’t know about the central computer – really?

    Won a few hundred last summer. Actually, I’ve won every time I ‘ve played except for one time. But, don’t go often and don’t bet a lot of money.

    Also, my dad was a compulive gambler. Oh man, now I know why my brother and I spent so much time with mom at Ben Paris downtown Seattle! Didn’t learn of his addiction till I was an adult. Somehow, mom always saved the day!

    anybody else remember Ben Paris – loved the salmon tanks!

  32. 40

    skagit spews:

    Hmm, Ghost, you’ve got a couple of compassionate and just bones in your haggard body. :)

  33. 42

    John Barelli spews:

    “Regarding your anscestors not being part of the great genocide . . . hey, ever heard of “being in possession of stolen property?” You’re not off the hook completely.

    If you’d read the post, you’d have read the part that says:

    I recognize this as disingenuous. I live here now, enjoying the fruits of what can only be called conquest, and I’m not going to leave.

    Yes, I understand your point, acknowledge your reasoning, and I’m still not planning on moving my family back to either Italy or Ireland.

    I also understand that we tend to do make lots of noise about things like giving back huge parts of the country, and then we can’t (or won’t) follow through, and leave ourselves open to folks on the right (who would go back to the old way of simply ignoring the treaties) who say “see, they promised that they would (fill in the blank) and they lied!

    No, I prefer to simply look at the situation as it is and be honest about it. Tilting at windmills is for folks much younger than I. Quite frankly, I’m astonished that we have gotten to the point where the treaties are actually being enforced, and the Native American Nations are being recognized as viable, real governments.

    Yes, we ripped them off. Not “so what?”, but “what are we really likely to do about it?” You are welcome to believe that they deserve to have the Dakotas returned to them, and you are probably even right.

    It isn’t going to happen, so let’s quit arguing for that and start working towards actually doing something. Oddly enough, part of that something is talking to the tribal governments and asking what they really expect at this point.

    Last time I heard them speak, the answer was “honor the treaties you signed“. Even the tribal governments understand that the best they will get is that we will simply do what we promised, and expect no more from them than they promised.

    In fact, they don’t even expect all of the treaties to be honored. Even they recognize that they aren’t going to get back the states of Alabama, or Oklahoma, or Ohio, or Illinois, or the Dakotas, or…

    They’d be pretty happy if we would simply honor the latest batch of broken (on our part) treaties, and after many years, it is beginning to happen. We are treating them as real, viable governments rather than simply as a resource to be exploited.

    Part of that is that when we make compacts with them now, we expect that we will be held to the letter of those compacts. That’s why we need to be careful in what we offer and what we promise. We’re actually planning on coming through with our part of whatever bargain is reached.

  34. 43

    skagit spews:

    Barelli: and I’m still not planning on moving my family back to either Italy or Ireland.

    Damn Barelli, you’re the one who needs to read better. Didn’t you see where I suggested small give backs. Absolutely can be done . . . but not as long as “passionate” apathets (new word -can you figure it out?) like you think we can’t.

    You are not the blood that made America in the first place. They may have been scoundrels, but they didn’t sit back and say “can’t do it.”

    But, watch your heart, take your glycerin, don’t get excited and accept the status quo. After all, you’ve got yours.

    Beside, you couldn’t afford Ireland anyway.

  35. 44

    Jesse spews:

    skagit, the state has some information about tribal lottery systems here. “Ever wonder why you have to press the button twice to play? On the first press you are purchasing the ticket, and on the second you are revealing the outcome.”

  36. 46

    runner ric spews:

    Money for the economy, college tuition, new cars, vacations, ect. is being lost in the indian casinos and no one benefits from that revenue except who? Gotta stop it.l You can self ban yourself from any casino, just aske them and it is done. Go buy your grand kid some new shoes.

  37. 47

    skagit spews:

    Everyone wants to benefit but nobody owes anybody else. The Indians are benefitting. Their kids. . . their elderly . . . yes, somebody is benefitting.

    And taxes? That’s a white man’s thing. Why should they care?

  38. 48

    grease63s spews:

    Just discovered this place, what a great discussion!

    I am a Gaming Inspector for one of the most prosperous tribes in our state, and I am neither tribal nor native (my wife and kid are part native, but they are not affiliated with their tribes or culture).

    I can say that:
    a) the tribes contribute greatly to programs to treat problem gambling
    b) the more enlightened tribes realize that gambling is not a permanent economic solution, as the market is quickly becoming saturated. It is however a way to gain the means to invest in the future (education for tribal members, more businesses, new industries)
    c) there are very few people on this continent who have not benefitted in some way from the expansion of european culture. The poorest people in America still live more comfortably than most in the developing nations of the world. The exception are some of the very elderly natives who were abused at the hands of the “white schools” back in the early 20th century, they might have been happier without the european expansion. However they are still alive because of the advances in medicine and technology that followed the development.
    d) there is no one in a casino who did not enter voluntarily, and all the games are voluntary as well.
    e) While the casinos and customers may desire a cash-in/ticket-out system like in Vegas, it will simply mean more regulatory headaches and accusations of theft and cheating that will be harder to prove.
    f) yes, the machines are controlled by a computer. Think of it as a computerized pulltab fishbowl with a few million “tickets”. The winning tickets are assigned randomly between banks of machines and amounts wagered. The spinning reels and ‘bonus’ games make no difference, the machine has already decided what the win is, enjoy the pretty lights :)
    g) the tribes do pay taxes. They pay taxes on every employee. The Tulalips are the 2nd largest employer in Snohomish County, right behind Boeing.

    I don’t agree with everything that the Tribe does, or the positions they take, but they do provide a good living for their family and for mine.

    FWIW, while the tribe may contribute greatly to the Democratic party, many of the tribal members are staunch blue collar Republicans (remember them?) and proud veterans.

    I’ll happily discuss my experience or views with anyone who asks

    Grease