Indian gaming for Arizona produces record $ lobby

Oct 15, 2002 1:28 AM

   The Indian gaming campaign in Arizona is the highest rolling measure in state history.

   The campaign has rolled up more than $32.1 million in contributions and $25.1 million in spending, according to reports filed last Thursday with the secretary of state.

   The money is coming almost exclusively from parties that would benefit from Indian tribes and racetracks. The total erases the previous mark of $5.7 million spent two years ago on a campaign over urban growth boundaries.

   Leading the way is the $18.9 million raised by Proposition 202, sponsored by 17 Indian tribes. The money came from 13 of the 14 tribes that run casinos in Arizona, with a few minor contributions from non-tribal donors.

   The Arizona racetracks raised $3.5 million, with the money coming from Turf Paradise and American Greyhound, a Delaware North subsidiary that operates the Phoenix Greyhound track.

   NYRA wants slot delay at Big A

   The New York Racing Association is confident an extension will be given on an April deadline to place video lottery terminals in Aqueduct Racetrack.

   Barry Schwartz, the NYRA chairman, said the deadline can’t be made if the lottery isn’t ready.

   “I’m sure the New York State Lottery Division will give us the extension,” Schwartz said. “My first concern is to get a plan to get this casino open. I’ll talk to the Governor (George Pataki) when I have a plan.”

   The video lottery terminals slated to be installed at Aqueduct on April 1, 2003 could be ready by mid-April or early May.

   “The preliminary architectural drawings of the VLT area at Aqueduct have been completed,” Schwartz said. “NYRA has already talked to eight major casino operators regarding their possible involvement.”

   Schwartz said he would talk to as many people as possible in the hope of finding somebody to operate the casino for the NYRA.

   Speedway may see casino

   Federal legislation last week could allow a tribal casino to be built in the shadow of Kansas Speedway.

   The deal will allow the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma the congressional authority for a casino in exchange for ending its lawsuit claiming historic ownership rights to nearly 2,000 acres of prime Kansas City industrial land.

   The lawsuit, pending for a year, has clouded titles and stymied legal transactions for an estimated 1,300 landowners in northeast Kansas City, according to the Kansas City Star.

   However, with Congress slated to adjourn within a week, the bill would have to be attached to other legislation to have a chance for passage this year.

   Also, Kansas City’s biggest gambling boat, the Ameristar Casino & Hotel, has recorded four consecutive months of 35 percent market share. That is the best period since the facility opened in 1997.

   First call for alcohol

   The Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York is still dry, despite more than a year of pressure to add alcoholic beverages to the resort.

   The Oneida Indian Nation has never filled out a preliminary application with the State Liquor Authority since operating the site in October 2001.

   Turning Stone has not served alcoholic drinks since 1993. Oneida officials declined comment on the matter.

   Iowa numbers fall

Attendance and revenues were down for September at all three Iowa gaming establishments in the Dubuque area.

   According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, admissions dropped nearly 17,000 from August to 83.849 patrons at the Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino.

   The Isle of Capri-Marquette recorded $3.3 million in wins, down slightly from an August figure of $3.5 million. The Diamond Jo Casino saw its attendance fall by nearly 7,500 to nearly 85,000 from August to September.

   Noh vote on Idaho casinos

   Idaho Sen. Laird Noh told the Twin Falls Times-News that Proposition One would not be in the best interest of the state.

   Proposition One, called the Indian Gaming and Self-Reliance Act, calls for the legalization of video gaming on native land throughout the state. Noh said the bill would “bring a host of social and economic ills.”

   Video gaming is already in use by the tribes, despite a 1992 Idaho Constitutional amendment that allows the state lottery, pari-mutuel betting at racetracks and charitable bingo as the only forms of gambling.