Gambling opponent says Cal top threat

Feb 18, 2003 3:38 AM

California producing more gaming revenue than Nevada? So says an anti-gaming advocate.

Cheryl Schmit, founder and director of Stand Up for California, told the Coachella Valley chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons that they need to closely monitor how the government interacts with local tribes regarding casinos and their moneymaking potential.

"Think what the Coachella Valley would be like with two Foxwoods," Schmit said in a Palm Springs Desert Sun story. "Foxwoods has 6,500 slots, 13,000 employees, a 1,400-room hotel and 41,000 daily visitors. Think what that would mean to the streets, sewers and the rest of the infrastructure."

Gov. Gray Davis has called for $1.5 billion in new fees from the gaming tribes, or 25 percent of their estimated take. California tribes are limited to 2,000 slot machines under the current compact limits.

Last week, 21 tribes mostly from Northern California, petitioned Davis to reopen negotiations over the revenue and slot limits.

Reno admits misread

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority apparently overestimated its "Summer Sales Blitz" promotion and admitted less success than originally reported.

The RSCVA told the Reno Gazette Journal that only four bookings occurred directly from the campaign, which hit 30 cities over a four-month period. The changes resulted in a 91 percent drop in the number of room nights claimed by the agency during the sales blitz.

The authority’s plan, according to Beckelman, was to increase convention business to help offset declining hotel-casino revenues and support the recently-completed $105 million project to expand and renovate the convention center.