Barstow blues

Sep 12, 2006 4:27 AM

Now that the California state Legislature has effectively put a hold on new gaming compacts, citizens of Barstow will have to wait until next year to see any movement on a casino in their town.

Fasting on the grounds of the Capitol and meeting with lawmakers was not enough to get ratification of compacts for the Los Coyotes Band of Cahilla and Cupeno Indians and the Big Lagoon Rancheria Tribe. The tribes’ plans for side-by-side casinos in Barstow have hit yet another snag.

Lawmakers closed out their session without voting on new deals for the Pechanga, Morongo, San Manuel, and Sycuan as well, which came as a relief to the smaller tribes. According to The Desert Dispatch, Los Coyotes public relations agent Tom Shields wrote in an e-mail, "We commend the Legislature for having enough integrity not to let the rich gaming tribes buy their compacts. But we are disappointed that the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon compacts were not ratified."

The Barstow-bound tribes haven’t given up hope. Los Coyotes Spokeswoman Catherine Saubel wrote, "We will be back here in January and hope that the members of the Legislature can look beyond the millions of dollars in campaign contributions and do what’s right for the tribes that need it the most," The Desert Dispatch reported.

Cayuga County supports casino

While the battle rages on in Buffalo, New York over the Seneca’s downtown casino project, Cayuga County officials are paving the way for a casino and convention center in the city of Auburn. Last week the Auburn Industrial Development Authority voted in favor of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma’s proposed gambling complex, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.

Tribal chief Paul Spicer said the project would bring in millions of dollars in city revenue and a total of nearly 4,000 jobs, between construction workers and permanent positions at the casino.

The Cayuga County Legislature passed a resolution in June to oppose the project. Legislature Chairman George Fearon said he feared the casino would bring higher crime, divorce and suicide rates, according to the paper. But that same month, Auburn city councilors voted in favor of it.

The Seneca-Cayuga must obtain a state gaming compact and approval from the Dept. of Interior and provide environmental and economic impact studies.

DOJ appeals KC ruling

A victory for the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma is now being challenged by the Justice Department. When U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled in favor of the tribe’s Kansas City gaming rights in July, it looked as if a casino would be coming back to the downtown 7th Street location. Last week the Justice Department said it would appeal the ruling, The Kansas City Star reported.

Robinson’s ruling overturned a 2004 decision by the National Indian Gaming Commission to put the site into non-gaming status and close the tribe’s bingo operation. Robinson concluded that the half-acre site, purchased by the Oklahoma-based tribe in 1996, qualified as a land claim settlement, which is allowed under IGRA.