The big business of Indian gaming could be a controversial issue in California this fall.
A proposal from two Central Valley tribes to build casinos away from their existing land was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown last year, but it will ultimately be up to voters whether that agreement sticks. Opponents of the projects, who have said the “off-reservation” casinos set a bad precedent for California, placed a referendum on the November ballot that will give citizens a final say on the state law, setting up a potentially costly battle between opposing gambling interests.
And that might be just the start, according to Stand Up for California!, a gaming policy organization that qualified the November referendum. The group plans to release a report at 11 a.m. warning that new federal rules lowering the criteria for recognizing Native American tribes could lead to a rapid increase in casinos in California, negatively impacting property tax revenues and local communities.
Stand Up for California! was previously involved with a referendum effort in 2008 to stop major casino expansions for four Southern California tribes, though voters upheld all of them.