Tribal casinos in Connecticut are reaching out to those who lost their gaming jobs as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun both have job openings. Foxwoods, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, has already set up job interviews for new dealers, and the Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, has contacted the gaming commissions in Louisiana and Mississippi to look for potential employees.
An estimated 14,000 casino workers in Louisiana and Mississippi have lost their jobs, according to The New London Day. Thirteen casinos in Biloxi, Gulfport and Bay St. Louis, Miss., were seriously damaged or destroyed in the hurricane and other properties, including Harrah’s New Orleans, are closed indefinitely. Some operators in Mississippi, where only floating casinos are legal, are pushing lawmakers to allow rebuilding on land.
The Gulf Coast casinos contribute about $333 million in annual tax revenue, according to the American Gaming Association.
National Native News reported last week that the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma sent its 20-member Wild Land fire crew to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The crew is handing out water and food and plans to help out for weeks to come.
duke it out
Influential tribes in California have successfully lobbied lawmakers to block gaming compacts for two of the state’s largest tribes.
Tribes that already operate casinos, including the Sycuan of East County, Pechanga of Temecula, Morongo of east Riverside County, San Manuel of San Bernardino County and Agua Caliente of Palm Springs opposed compacts with the Quechan tribe of Imperial County and the Yurok tribe of Northern California.
The opposing tribes say the new compacts, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in June, introduce tighter regulations that will ultimately affect them. One requirement in the new compacts is that the tribes share up to 25 percent of slot revenues with the state.
With the legislature preparing to adjourn, no action will be taken until next year on measures to ratify the Yurok and Quechan compacts. The Yurok tribe had proposed its first casino near Klamath. The Quechan tribe operates two casinos — one on the California side of its reservation, and one in Arizona. The compact negotiated with Gov. Schwarzenegger would have allowed the tribe to build in a better location along Interstate 8.
Quechan Tribal President Mike Jackson said the delay could cost them millions of dollars, according to Copley News Service. "I’m ashamed they’re Native Americans," Jackson said of the tribes that lobbied against the compacts. "Native Americans don’t treat brothers and sisters like this."
Gaming opposition also erupted from the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. The Red Bluff Daily News reported that the tribe is fighting a proposal by the Greenville Rancheria to build a 120,000-square foot casino in the city of Red Bluff, in Tehama County.
The tribe accused the Greenville Rancheria, located in Plumas County, of "reservation shopping" and criticized them for moving in on Tehama County territory. The proposed site for the Greenville Rancheria’s casino is just 13 miles from the Paskenta casino in Corning.
The Greenville Rancheria tried to have the casino site land put into trust, but the Tehama County Board of Supervisors voted it down in January. The tribe has proposed paying the county $665,000 in lieu of taxes and improving the roads near the casino.
California Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D) is asking the state attorney general to investigate the video bingo machines being operated by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians. Hancock says the machines at Casino San Pablo are nearly identical to slot machines, and that the Lytton Band have taken advantage of a loophole in state law.
"These electronic bingo machines are exactly like slot machines, and therefore I’m asking the attorney general to investigate it," Hancock told The San Francisco Chronicle.
California’s State Legislature rejected a Class III compact last year that would have allowed the tribe to install 5,000 slot machines at Casino San Pablo. The tribe opted instead to offer 500 bingo machines, saying it has a right to engage in Class II gaming, since the casino is sited on trust land.