The Spokesman Review’s Rich Roesler reports that Gov. Chris Gregoire is likely to sign a proposed gaming compact with the Spokane tribe that could lead to a massive expansion of gambling in Washington state.
“I’m delighted they finally did come to the table,” said Gregoire, who as attorney general once sued the tribe for offering gambling without a state compact. “They have stayed the course and negotiated in good faith.”
She spoke at her weekly news conference with reporters at the capitol.
Asked if she would sign the compact as it is now, Gregoire responded “I haven’t thoroughly reviewed it, every jot and tittle of it, but the parameters that I’ve heard about, yes I would.”
I’m not so sure what the governor is delighted about. The proposed compact ups the ante for tribal gaming, giving the Spokanes 4,700 cash-fed slot machines and high-stakes betting. Under federal law the other tribes have the right to reopen their compacts to demand equal terms, and if history is any guide, they will.
The compact is great for the Spokanes but it’s a bad deal for Washington state, which is already in the midst of a gambling epidemic. And my sense is that this compact is bad politics for Gov. Gregoire and her fellow Democrats. Just two years ago voters overwhelmingly rejected Tim Eyman’s I-892, which would have legalized slot machines statewide. (Spokane County voters rejected the measure by an even larger margin.) And Republicans are poised to make hay with the issue.
Speaking of which, I’ll be filling in for Frank Shiers tonight on 710-KIRO from 9PM to 1AM, and Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-Granger), the ranking Republican on the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee will be joining me at 9:05 to discuss the proposed Spokane compact. Um… he’s opposed.