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Only a Few Winners From Indian Casinos

January 05, 2003

Re "A Bad Bet for California," editorial, Dec. 27: The Times is right to point out the pitfalls of permitting Indian casinos in urban areas. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is also correct in opposing the go-ahead for the Pomo tribe to build a casino and resort complex in West Sacramento. The Pomo tribe, with a scant 150 members, wishes to build a multimillion-dollar casino and resort on a 67-acre tract far removed from its ancestral homeland, with a big part of the profits going not to the Pomo Indian tribal members but to a small group of wealthy white backers who would be raking in millions of dollars.

The proliferation of Indian casinos and gaming across the country is the subject of a two-part series in Time magazine, Dec. 16 and 23. There is something wrong when Congress passes a law to make Indian tribes more self-sufficient but instead Malaysian gamblers and South African businessmen reap billions of dollars by skimming profits off the top -- and Native Americans continue to live in poverty. It appears there is a sordid story behind the proliferation of Indian casinos and gaming throughout the U.S. that bears investigating, perhaps by a congressional committee.

Joseph Ellenbogen

Sherman Oaks

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