For whatever reason, none specified, Gov. Gray Davis signed gaming compacts with California’s Native Americans four years ago without extracting payments from the casino operating tribes to mitigate the expenses the gambling would generate for the state and the communities involved.
He did this despite the experience of other states such as Connecticut and Wisconsin where a certain percentage of the gaming revenue is passed along to the state coffers. In recent negotiations, Wisconsin has developed an agreement that will go a long way toward balancing the budget over the next two years.
But the dilemma Davis created with the initial compacts that give the Indian casinos a free ride has come back to haunt him. In March, he began negotiations for compact renewals attempting to incorporate provisions that would generate funds for the state. His efforts were immediately rebuffed by most of the 55 tribes that are involved in gambling.
Now that Davis faces a recall, primarily because the state’s financial condition is suffering, he has failed to attract support from the wealthy gaming operators who are believed to fund the state’s biggest lobbying efforts. From news accounts, it appears the Indians have decided to support Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the Democrats’ best hope of retaining the governorship should the recall find majority support at the polls.
Bustamante has launched an all-out effort to become the state’s next governor while announcing that he would place the Indian financial support he is receiving in another account to avoid being criticized for violating campaign finance laws. But, based on his record as Speaker of the state’s Assembly, the tribes are satisfied that a Gov. Bustamante can be counted on to support their causes.
And that most certainly will mean expanded gaming.
Because recent business has been so strong, Mandalay Resort Group Inc. (MBG) announced it would increase its quarterly dividend from the previously announced $0.23 a share to $0.25 a share.
The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City reported "very consistent" revenue trends during the month of August. The $1.1 billion property opened on July 3 to a strong response from the public. Slot play average per machine was $306 and table games averaged $4,257 per day compared to last year’s A.C. average of $262 per machine and $3,122 per table game.
GTECH Holdings Corp.(GTK) said it is the apparent successful bidder for the new lottery contract in Florida. The six-year contract will begin on Feb. 1, 2005.
Thoroughbred breeders and owners Bob Lewis and Trudy McCaffery have joined the board of directors for the Oak Tree Racing Association that this year will host the Breeders’ Cup races on Oct. 25.
Standard & Poor’s racing service has reduced its credit rating for MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGG) to a junk level "BB-plus" from "BBB-minus" with a "stable" outlook.
Roth Capital analysts have begun coverage of Scientific Games Inc. (SGMS) with a "buy" rating.
Putting their casino revenue profits to good use, the Mickleshoot Indians in Auburn, Wash., have begun a program that will place a desktop or laptop computer in every tribal household.
Well-known concert promoter Barry Fey, who makes his home in Denver, Colo., has had his bankruptcy case dismissed. He reportedly has repaid some $4 million of the $5 million debt listed at the time the bankruptcy was filed.