S-lots of luck: Cal faces budget cut with less machines

Apr 23, 2002 4:48 AM

More than half the budget of the California Gambling Commission would be slashed until approval is granted for nearly 11,000 more slots for Indian casinos.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Democratic assemblyman Marco Firebaugh could withhold $2.9 million or nearly 60 percent of the commission’s $5 million budget unless the machines were added. Firebaugh is the majority floor leader.

The bill is scheduled to be heard Monday in Sacramento, the state capital.

Commission staff members believe there are still 10,803 slot machines available under terms of tribal gambling compacts signed in September 1999.

Slot machines generate most of the profits and have keyed the rapid expansion of Indian gaming. Gov. Gray Davis said he authorized no more than 45,206 slots statewide.

California tribes have installed or drawn licenses to operate nearly 50,000 slots. Another 16 tribes with compacts, but no casinos as of yet, are entitled to 350 slots apiece.

Closer to games

The Snoqualmie Tribe of Washington received approval to offer slot machines and Las Vegas-style games in the planned casino.

The Tribe negotiated a Class III compact with the state to allow roulette, craps, keno, tribal lotteries and blackjack. The compact was ratified by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Before the casino can be built, the tribe must successfully complete its land-to-trust application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.