California Proposition 94, 95, 96, 97 - Indian Gaming Compacts

Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97 are voter initiatives that will allow four indian casinos in Souther...

california indian casinosPropositions 94, 95, 96, and 97 are voter initiatives that will allow four indian casinos in Southern California to build "super casinos" larger than those found on the Las Vegas strip. These will be on the Feb 5, 2008 ballot...

  • Prop 94 - affects Pechanga Casino

  • Prop 95 - affects Morongo Casino

  • Prop 96 - affects Sycuan Casino

  • Prop 97 - affects Agua Caliente Casino

Texts of these four referendums are essentially the same, the only differences being the number of additional slot machines they are allowed to add, and the amount of money they'll be paying to the State.

The Breakdown

What the Casinos get...

  • Casinos get to triple or nearly quadruple their number of slot machines (Pechanga goes from 2,000 to 7,500)

  • Casinos are no longer subject to the California Environmental Quality Act. Any expansion must be backed up by an environmental report that the Indian tribes can conduct themselves.

  • Casinos no longer have to have an impartial auditor count the slot machine revenues; they'll be able to audit them on their own.

  • Casinos will receive a "fail safe" guarantee that punishes the State for permitting non-tribal gambling operations. That is, if an organization other than an indian tribe receives a clearance to build a gambling establishment, the indian casino will be allowed to reduce its taxes to the State, or eliminate them altogether.

What the State gets...

  • Casinos will now pay taxes to the State General Fund. Previously, casino taxes were paid to two tribal funds (RSTF and SDF) that the State distributed to smaller tribes, and tribal administrative bodies. The General Fund is spent on all Californians.

  • Casinos will now pay more money than before, almost double than under the current compact agreements. But as mentioned above, the Indian tribes will now get to audit their own revenues for the purpose of deciding how much money goes to the State. Under the current arrangement, an impartial auditor is used. So, it's not exactly clear how much more money California will receive.


The provisions spelled out above were actually passed by the State Legislature, and signed into law by the Governor, in June 2007. It was supposed to go into effect January 1, 2008.

But other indian tribes within the State, particularly the Pala Tribe, as well as some racing tracks, the California Federation of Teachers, and the California Tax Reform Association, managed to gather enough signatures to put Props 94, 95, 96, and 97 on the ballot as a last ditch effort to override the Governor's signature.

The Pala Tribe is concerned that their casino will lose business if Pechanga is allowed to greatly expand its casino.

A "no" vote means the existing 1999 agreements will remain in effect. A "yes" vote allows these new provisions to go into effect.


I'm not in favor of the new provisions. I'll be voting "no" on these propositions.

I do want indian tribes to pay into the State General Fund. But I don't like two particular details: the "fail safe" guarantee that punishes the State for allowing non-tribal gambling operations to exist, and allowing the indian tribes to audit their own revenues for purposes of determining their payment amounts to the State.

As a free society, anybody and any business should be free to operate a casino. If indian tribes can build a casino, then why can't I? The "fail safe" provision takes that freedom away, because it allows indian tribes to reduce or eliminate their payments to the State General Fund if a non-tribal gambling operation starts up.

And letting tribes audit their own money is a priviledge that I don't have, nor you. When we pay taxes, the State is free to audit our money as they please. We don't have the right kick the state out of our books, so why should the tribes?

And why should the tribes be excluded from the California Environmental Quality Act? As a business owner, I don't have that priviledge! No other business has that priviledge.

I don't have anything against indian casinos, or building "super casinos", but I want fairness and equality. I own a small business, and I don't like the fact that indian tribes can get special priviledges just because they're indians. That's state-sanctioned racism, against me and you.

My solution to all this is to dissolve indian reservations. Let indians be treated equally as any other Californian. If we applied the same business and tax laws to indian casinos, we'll recieve plenty of tax revenues. And they'll be free to expand without compacts.

For further reading...


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Post a Comment

  1. Excellent points. I'm not in favor of only certain tribes getting expanded gaming. Of course, my particular complaint is with Pechanga (no on 94) Pechanga has violated their people's (25% OF THEM, anyway) and have shrunk their tribe, instead of bringing those who rightfully belong into the tribe.
    The special fund was designed to help ALL tribes in CA, and that's what they sold Californians on. Now, the Governor shows he doesn't care about them, nor does the legislature.
    The expanded gaming compacts ARE NOT good for CA.

  2. nobody's fool anymoreDecember 15, 2007 9:43 PM

    Oh, you don't know the half of it.

    Pechanga is in the midst of an FBI investigation for massive embezzlement. Casino managers not only defrauded the casino itself, but the dealers as well by forcing them to pool their tips and then stealing those pooled tokes.

    One high ranking tribal member/table games manager has been quietly kicked out of the casino (although he'll still get his monthly stipend for life), while others in management have been taken out in handcuffs.

    CORRUPTION RUNS RAMPANT in Indian Gaming and not one single news organization will touch it. Makes you wonder why. Too much tax revenue at stake?

    Lets not fool anyone, the Governor of California HAS to be in the know re: the FBI investigations. Is he going to be part of the problem by turning a blind eye or part of the solution by demanding accountability? My guess? Follow the money. All sins are forgiven if the price is right. Meanwhile, over 6000 employees are affected, but who cares about them? They're simple plebians - afraid to speak out for fear of backlash - easy marks for greed mongers.

    Floor managers and Pits shaking down dealers for a share of their income. Trainers SELLING dealing jobs at $3,000 per head, or for sex -regardless of ability. For those who gained their jobs honestly and perform their duties with integrity, this goes beyond a slap in the face.

    This smacks of early Vegas.

    Upper management receiving kick backs for everything from casino software to the building of the new high limit rooms. Hiring known managers of, to say the least, dubious character and giving them free reign. How much was stolen? ... MILLIONS ???

    Wake up people. you are being hoodwinked. If the taxpayers of California give them the freedom to self audit, then they get what they deserve and those millionaire tribal members most asuredly will laugh all the way to the bank. Why would they care, so long as they get their $15,000+ a month?

    Oh and lets not forget San Manuel. Tribal members laundering money, selling drugs and guns to the Mexican drug cartels - all swept under the rug. The general public oblivious to it all. Now that's a sweet deal.

    ALL INDIAN CASINOS should be scrutinized. They don't need less oversight - they need more. Alot more.

    Meanwhile, I surely wish someone in the press had the courage to ask the Governor CALIFORNIANS VOTED FOR for an explanation.

  3. I will oppose these propositions for the following reasons:
    I don't like the "fail safe" issue.
    I don't like the self audit issue.
    There is too much possibility for future corruption and with no guarantee of revenue for use by the general public of California.

  4. Hmm, none of this information is in the TV commercials. I wonder why...

    I guess if someone asked the state how much it was worth to sell their soul to the devil we would find the answer in these propositions.

  5. Maybe after we invaded their land, forced them to move, killed generations of their people, and brought them to the brink of extinction, they have the right to embezzle a little bit of money from us.

  6. The Pechanga Chairman went to school in Colton, his father went to San Bernardino HS. The casino manager who was kicked out of the casino for theft isn't even Pechanga.. Nobody forced them to move and they don't deserve the same leeway for embezzlement that you would give to a Native American from the 1850's. Macarro's cousins went to Eisenhower in Rialto. Nobody stole their buffalo.

  7. I want to be clear on my previous post. Pechanga Chairman Macarro was not involved in the theft ring at the casino. He is, however responsible for not controlling the corruption of the disenrollment committee and for not holding the council to uphold tribal law.

  8. Let the Casinos get as bid as they
    want as long as California gets
    a fair share of the Pie.

  9. Please vote NO! on Prop 94. Im a true BLOOD Pechanga Indian. Im in the illegal Moratorium. It has been over 10 years and will go tell 2015 when they vote on another 5, 10 or 15 year moratorium. The only people to get enrolled were familly members of the enrollment committe last Jan. Have a really good X-mas tribal member I know you will$$$$. Im going to try to make my house payment for my x-mas presnt. Stand up tribal members take back your tribe your not going to loose your golden egg. TRUE BLOOD FOR LIFE

  10. Readers, when you hear 'moratorium' and pechanga, this is a violation of Pechanga's own Constitution. The Tribe voted to have a moratorium over a decade ago, because some realized that self reliance included bringing people into the tribe that belonged, but if they did that, then they would have to split their per capita checks. The Tribal Council declared the moratorium VALID. (the people have spoken) Flash forward about 8 years and the tribe votes to stop ALL DISENROLLMENTS (the people have spoken) The Tribe all of a sudden says the people can't vote on disenrollment. Let's see, they can vote to keep people OUT, but they can't vote to keep people IN! Yes, you can trust Pechanga to tell us how much profit they made.

  11. Maybe after we invaded their land, forced them to move, killed generations of their people, and brought them to the brink of extinction, they have the right to embezzle a little bit of money from us.

    By Anonymous, at December 18, 2007 12:09 AM

    I didn't kill anyone and your living in a bumper sticker. There is no "we" or "they" here. Californians...period. If you grew up in reality and with any tribal friends you would know how the whole tribal scam works for a few families and not for the Tribe. Califorina Tribes Rock!!!

  12. Dude... you can't say what mexico does with casinos, and you can't say what indian reservations do. Why is this even on the ballot? They have their own nations wtf.

  13. So called indian Casinos on our highways are bleeding every day working class Californians dry. I realize that any vice is by coice, however we cannot ignore the fact that so called nickel machines at these casinos are creating addicts of people who otherwise eould never think of gambling. I know this because I have been addicted. In the past 7 years,I lost $app. $160.000 at a place called Morongo. I am in my late 60s and will never have the opportunity to earn that money back.

  14. nobody's fool anymoreDecember 30, 2007 8:43 AM

    "Maybe after we invaded their land, forced them to move, killed generations of their people, and brought them to the brink of extinction, they have the right to embezzle a little bit of money from us."

    Curiously, people with this attitude probably have never lost their home or had their credit rating destroyed because someone STOLE the money they worked so hard to earn.

    The "little bit of money" comment is laughable.

    To Little Red:

    Who gets to decide how much is fair? The casinos. I don't know about you, but I can't come up with one California corporation that gets to self audit for the State Revenue Department. We already know corruption reigns, and you want to give them a legal way to do it?

    Dang.... may I embezzle from you, please?

    RE: The moratorium -

    I've always found it amazing that the Tribe has no judicial system. No courtrooms, no public attorneys, judges. Why? So you CAN'T sue them. Perfect solution. They rob their own people of their rights as tribal members and Californians still seem to believe they will be fair and honest with revenues?

    What a dream....soon to be a nightmare if this passes.

    RE: gambling addictions -

    Bus loads of senior citizens file in daily. Some delighted to win $100 and safely tucking it away. Others hopeful to make more and keep feeding the slots or drop boxes at the backjack tables. Seems most know what they are willing to lose, but no one knows how much they are willing to win and walk.

    Casinos dress up their place and bring in entertainment, all so you will pony up and leave broke.

    No casino gives a tinker's damn. Not Vegas, not Indian Gaming Tribes. It is a sad reality.

  15. Bad Karma for the Indians-
    The Indian casinos have defeated their purpose. THey were established to take care of their people, since the WhiteMan took their land and dignity away. THe Indian tribes have become the very same greedy mongers that did them in. I have no sympathy for Indian tribes to expand their casinos in California. It is evil, evil, evil. THey will end up destroying themselves this time around with greed and money.

  16. If the state of California is having such terrible budget problems, how is it our state legislatures voted to give themselves a $3,000 salary increase? The casinos can't even be called gambling establishments, in gambling establishments machines pay off once in awhile. When you put #300.00 into a penny machine and don't even get into a bonus game (The Spa Casino, downtown Palm Springs)it's pretty bad odds. You stand a better chance of winning the state lottery. And we are not of the generations that displaced the Indian nations. It would seem they are doing a pretty good job of displacing their own needy poor, in order to line the bigwigs pockets.

  17. Stupidity rains supreme. If everyone would read the whole thing NOT just the quick bits on the top of the page they would learn several things.
    First, Right now Morongo has 2,000 slot machines. Here is the brake down on how we pay taxes. First 500 machines 4% of the revenue second 500 is 3% third 500 2% and the last 500 1%. Therefore, if you average that 4+3+2+1=10 divided by 4 = 2.5% of the total revenue under the new compact we will pay 25% across the board. BIG DIFFERENCE.
    Second, we realize in order to get something we have to give something. Case in point we are not part of the United States of America (look up Sovereign Nation) we do not have to enforce State or County laws example we did not garnish pay checks for Child support, back taxes, judgments, levies or liens etc. Guess what we have to in order to comply with the agreement. In fact, we have started several months ago as a good faith gesture. Less women going on wel fare everyone likes that. Try and serve legal papers on one of your employees in the past and see what happened, again we are allowing that. Our Employees are now responsible for them self’s no hiding on Indian lands.
    Third, we are building a new administration complex, and yes, a court is included. So do not give me that “so they can not be sued” stuff, WE CAN this was also part of what we gave up so we can have more.
    Name me another business that donated $1,000,000 to the scouts, replace a whole playground worth of equipment because one of the tribal members overheard a school official state they would not be able to let the elementary kids use the playground because they did not have the $30,000 to replace the old equipment. No other business treats the elders better then we do. There is no state funded social security here. In fact, we pay for our own fire department, library, Public Works excreta. For the dim witted this translate's into, not only do we not use State money we give money to the state, Now that is what I call a win win situation. Yes we are a business and like all business or doors are open to make money, do not be deceived we give a hell of a lot back to our people and surrounding communities.
    There is many things’ the tribes have, and will be giving up in order to reach a peaceful arraignment for all concerned. Everyone seems to be focusing on the self-auditing issue, we have been state audited for more then 12 years. Do you really think the state dos not have an idea how much should be paid based on past growth excreta.
    So please stop being one of the easily led astray sheep who only follows the heard, and read the whole thing and then decide for your self.
    There is a lot more but I feel most people get my point.

  18. It is so easy to donate money for community welfare, when the money you are donating is just a very very small portion of what you have taken from the pockets of the elders, poor and working classes hard earned paychecks in your establishments. You take much more than you return.

  19. Profits from Indian Gaming should be taxed at close to if not at 50%. The social degradation caused by gaming is a kin to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity (In order of degrading effect). A portion of the taxes should be used in public service campaigns exposing the dangers of gambling. If retirees want to through their savings away instead of passing this money on to a worthy cause, so be it, but how many of these gamers are losing money they couldn’t afford to lose? How much is going on the credit cards? The competition to maintain a certain “lifestyle” materialistic imaging will only further lower moral standards and behaviors attributed to their pursuit.

  20. Smokestack BarnesJanuary 04, 2008 9:50 PM

    So many good points made here and I'm all for anyone making an honest dollar...keeps the difference between regular people and the government at the forefront of our minds, BUT there is one more point needing to be made...whats imbalanced when slots can triple or quadruple in numbers but revenues to the state, after the casino owners decide what they wish to send, only DOUBLE? Why aren't those dollars also tripling or quadrupling? All four propositions stink. For this reason and those stated here in other posts, I urge all Californians to vote NO ON PROPOSITIONS 94,5,96,& 97!

  21. dont punish others because the Cal.senate cant keep within their budget. Id rather vote out Cal.senate members for over spending. Dont we all pay enough taxes???

  22. I have some poor Indian friends who have not been given any help from their tribes, not full blooded enough. But they sure can throw up those multi million dollar hotels (with rich and fameous price tags on the rooms). Their machines are set so high in favor of the house, its pathetic. So why should they be permitted to install any more and make themselves and our legislative powers to be richer? As stated, budget crunches and the legislatives give themselves a $3,000 dollar salary increase ? Social security checks cost of living increase for the year was $20.00.

  23. The Indian Casinos and the State Legislatures deserve each other. Both are greedy squanderers using the poor man's dollar to promote their own wealth and well being.

  24. Save Clean LivingJanuary 05, 2008 7:55 PM

    This is a perfect example why California is going to Hell in a handbag. You've got no one looking at the ill effects that casino enviornements present to the populous.

    Instead we are being told that increased tax revenues will flow into the state. Is this what were allowing our state to sell out to?
    To allow this gambling filth to permeate further into our culture?

    A few posts earlier someone made mention about all the good things that the casinos have done. Get off it. It's the equivalent of Britney Spears making $750,000 per month and paying $500 in charitable contributions.

    Get a real job, one that doesn't exploit individuals weaknesses to fund your next big purchase.

    I'm voting NO.

  25. What you are forgetting is we, Americans, immigrated here and took just about everything away from the Native Americans. They were here first and were forced into a society they never would've wanted to be in. I think it's messed up that you guys are being so selfish. Ya it'll raise taxes for everything else but casinos are the one thing that Natives can make money off of and buy back the land that is rightfully theirs. You have no right to be against these tribes because they were here thousands of years before any of us were born. Ya there are crooks in the tribes, but there are way more in the rest of the community. Just take a look at our president...

  26. I used to work for one of these casinos. I couldn't take the unfair treatment by the management any more so I resigned. If these tribes failed to treat their employee fairly then what makes the state think they will be righteous when it comes to doing their own audit. I think Indians should pay tax just like everyone of us does, because they still being protected by the same government as we do, and