Re "Stacked deck," editorial, Sept. 15
The Times' editorial too hastily criticizes the Legislature's effort to rein in the growing industry of unregulated charity casino bingo.
The editorial failed to mention that operators of these machines are not currently subject to any regulatory oversight, nor is there any requirement to pay the charities a reasonable percentage of their income. The California attorney general said in May that these electronic bingo devices are unlawful under the California Penal Code and no longer should be used.
The real story is that the legislation came together quickly because legislators were protecting an important budget source. Because the state can't tax tribes, it receives revenues in return for granting tribes the exclusive right for casino-style gambling. If this agreement is broken, compacted casino tribes can continue to operate without obligation to share with the state.
The state needs tribal gaming income in these very difficult economic times. Tribes very quickly responded to requests for input on this subject and were among those who suggested and supported the idea that charities should receive a minimum return from the businesses that operate these machines. Yes, churches and charities need the ability to fundraise -- but we don't need to see church basements turned into casinos.