The Pala Casino Spa Resort is an on-reservation venue in northern San Diego… (Los Angeles Times )
The issue hasn't gotten much statewide attention, but Gov. Jerry Brown has a decision to make on Indian gambling that could have major impacts down the road for the casino landscape. And that's the literal meaning of casino landscape.
Previously, tribes with existing reservations have located their casinos on those reservations. Now, two tribes whose reservations are in difficult-to-access locations are seeking to build casinos miles from those reservations, near Northern California cities (Madera and Marysville) and along major roads.
It's done through a two-part process in which the U.S. Interior Department can take lands newly purchased by a tribe "in trust" for that tribe, which places the land under tribal sovereignty just like the original reservation. This has happened a handful of times nationwide but never in California.
The feds have already signed off on these off-reservation casinos for the two tribes, but the second part is that Brown also would have to give his approval. The decision must be made by the end of the month.
Tribes with existing casinos on nearby reservations oppose the plan, saying it will lead to "reservation shopping," with Indian tribes jumping over each other to gain sovereignty over land closer and closer to metropolitan areas.
California now has more than 65 casinos among its 109 tribes.
The Times' editorial board is considering what stand to take on this issue. What do you think? Is the horse out of the barn on Vegas-style gambling in California, so we might as well let these and other proposals go ahead? Are the casinos a boon to the state? What should the governor do?
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