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Issue of the Week: Arizona's Indian Gaming Initiatives

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Illustration by Cody Angell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 16, 2002

On Nov. 5th, Arizona voters will have three similar propositions to choose from propositions that will go a long way toward deciding the future of gaming in the state. The differences between Propositions 200, 201 and 202 may be subtle, but are very clearly defined. Prop 200, supported by the Colorado River indian Tribes, would largely deregulate gaming on reservations and allow for other games, such as blackjack, to be offered. Most of Prop 201's support comes from racetrack owners, who like the initiative's promise to provide for slot machines at dog tracks. Prop 202 meets somewhere in the middle keeping gaming on the reservations but focusing more on state revenue. Which of these initiatives, if any, should Arizonans support in November?


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Kendrick Wilson

Help American Indians, not the sleazy dog tracks

The only thing that is for sure with the three gaming propositions this year 200, 201, and 202 is that every sensible Arizonan should vote NO on Proposition 201!

201 is sponsored by the dog tracks and would allow many of them to have slot machines. To begin with, slot machines at dog tracks take much-needed revenue away from the American Indians, and makes one of the sleaziest businesses in our state all the wealthier.

One would be hard pressed to argue that dog tracks don't abuse the greyhounds they race. Many are needlessly euthanized simply because they are too old to race. Some animal activists have reported that some dogs are kept in cages too small for them to turn around. The use of drugs by dog tracks to make dogs race faster are strongly suspected.

It is illogical and immoral to allow dog tracks in Arizona, none of which are reputable, to rake in profits from slot machines while the dogs they race continue to be subjected to deplorable conditions and American Indian poverty rates remain sickeningly high.

As for the remaining propositions, 202 would allow the tribes that have casinos to keep more of the money, while 200 would redistribute casino revenues among the various tribes statewide. Both have their merits and would serve our state well.

Kendrick Wilson is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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Jason Baran

Each of the gambling initiatives is bad for everyone

The choice is clear. Vote against all three vice initiatives. None is appropriate; none is worthy of affirmation.

Propositions 200 and 202 charter the continued and increased monopolization of Arizona's gambling industry. State prevention of people from doing business is a shameful and gross violation of the American way. Prop 202 claims that it will provide "self-reliance" for Indian communities across the state. Dependence on a single industry to support the community is not self-reliance. That comes through diversified economic development.

Skeptical? Look at the timber towns of the Pacific-Northwest, steel towns of the Midwest and Pennsylvania, and the fishing communities of the Eastern seaboard that have collapsed because of reliance on a single industry. Still unconvinced? Look at Arizona's copper mining towns. Scattered across southern Arizona are the skeletons of once-vital communities that relied on a single industry for their prosperity.

Prop 201 is no better. The racetrack initiative is the vehicle for expanded perversion of the quality of life in Arizona. It is stage one of the metamorphosis into a crime-ridden, gambling addicted Las Vegas.

Don't forget that if gambling-related laws change, casino restrictions evaporate and it's no holds barred.

Do all Arizonans a favor and vote no on the gambling initiatives.

Jason Baran is a public administration and policy graduate student. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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Tylor Brand

Let's play fair in gaming props

All three propositions (200,201 and 202) irk me a bit as they all try to raise the gambling age to 21, as though a good percentage of 19-year-olds are frequenting sperm banks to support their vice. But 200 seems to do the most for real people.

Let's set aside the wicked, hedonistic sin-of-gambling aspects of these propositions, which is actually one opposition point; all of the propositions feed money to the state, and since we'll be dumb enough to vote at least one in, why not have the best (i.e. least damaging) one?

Prop 200 funds scholarships, poor people and lets all the tribes have slot machines (rural areas can send theirs to urban casinos), and thus profit. Prop 201 gives 92 percent of the money to pompous, puppy-murdering racetrack dandies over in California and lets them exploit the poor alcoholics in South Phoenix. Prop 202 helps Indians too, but unless there's a monopoly on gambling, they give only 3/4 of a percent of profit to the state, and the rural tribes still get the big stiff.

That said, ideally, don't vote at all. It's just encouraging those in power. But if for some reason you still believe voting's worth anything, go for 200.

Tylor Brand is a philosophy sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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Caitlin Hall

Prop 202 clear choice for aiding under-funded areas

The choice between the three gaming initiatives is, as far as I'm concerned, not much of a choice at all. One proposition, 202, stands out way out as the logical pick. Here's why.

Proposition 201 is doubly evil. First, it bequeaths upon filthy-rich racetrack owners the right to monopolize another luxury: gaming. Sure, it also allows the governor to compact with tribes as well, meaning that they too can set up and operate casinos. But why go to the casino when the endlessly entertaining racetrack has slot machines, too? Additionally, Prop 201 supports the reprehensible "sport" of dog racing by giving it a new source of funding and profit.

Propositions 200 and 202 are similar in what they allow tribes to do set up several casinos with extensive gaming facilities for an extended period of time. However, they differ sharply in their projected benefit to the state: While Prop 202 would generate an estimated $102 million annually to benefit elementary education, Prop 200 would generate approximately $32 million annually, largely for care for the elderly.

In short, Prop 202 would create three times as much funding, and channel it toward the most critically under-funded areas in the state. And that makes the choice very easy.

Caitlin Hall is a biochemistry and philosophy sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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Jessica Lee

Let Indians keep the money

If you care for the American Indians of Arizona, do not under any circumstances vote for Prop 201.

My recommendation? Vote "yes" on both 200 and 202 just to prevent 201 from contending. Prop 201 is supported by the horse and dog racetrack industries, which seek to take a share of the casino pie. The Indians deserve every penny of the money that goofballs drop in a slot and watch computerized images take their attention away from the fact that the science of statistics just robbed them.

Not only would casinos be allowed to migrate off reservation lands, but also Prop 201 would require that more revenue be given back to the state $300 million. Indian tribes should be able to keep the maximum amount of profit, over 90 percent of it, and not have to toss it into the black hole-pockets of the Legislature.

Until the state can afford to honestly invest in the wellness of all Arizona Indians, it is not justified that they take any more of the gaming profits.

Out of the three choices, Prop 202 wins my vote. Seventeen tribes, who represent 90 percent of the Indian population, have been working with the governor for several years to provide this solution to the gaming crisis.

Jessica Lee is an environmental science senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.


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Jason Winsky

Vote no on all the gaming propositions

There's been a lot of confusion recently over the different Indian gaming propositions. What you won't see or hear on the TV or radio is that all of the propositions have drawbacks.

Prop 200 doesn't represent enough tribes. Prop 201 supposedly makes race tracks into casinos. Prop 202 doesn't give the state enough money and leaves out rural Indians.

The reality is that all three Indian gaming propositions should be voted down. There's simply not enough governmental regulation of the casinos and the money they generate. Some tribes simply take the profits from casinos and divide it in cash between the members of the tribe. This is not the way to handle a major source of revenue.

It's not that the tribes are unintelligent or bad with money; it's that they simply don't have the experience or the governmental institutions needed to handle that kind of cash flow. The money often does not go where it should.

But why should the Arizona voter care where the money goes? Because the money earned by casinos ruins lives and families. I've personally seen people hurt since gambling came to Arizona, and if the tribes are going to earn their money by taking people's money, it should at least be spent wisely. None of these propositions guarantees that.

Jason Winsky is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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