Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crapshoot at the Not-OK Corral

I sighed as I read the title of the casino article du jour from today's Boston Globe:

A crapshoot for Mass: Congress’s uncertain direction clouds efforts to control number of Indian casinos, cost of licenses:

Here we go again...

I braced myself for the content.
A fight over Indian rights is reemerging as a central issue in the Massachusetts gambling debate, as the uncertain legal status of the Wampanoags is thwarting efforts to control how many casinos get built and how much to charge for the coveted licenses.
Sigh again...

Fortunately, Kathleen Norbut was there to insert an ion of sanity...
"There is a lack of full disclosure and understanding by legislators of the impact of Native American gambling," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots, a coalition of groups opposed to expanding gambling.

"Without performing an economic analysis, they are shirking their basic fiduciary duties as elected officials. Our Legislature needs take a step back and reevaluate the market, the costs, and the impacts."
...sanity which evaporates upon the voice of Senator Stanley Rosenberg:
Without being specific, Rosenberg intimated the proposed legislation would allow for the construction of tribal casinos.
That's right, Stan. That's just what Massachusetts needs. A tribal casino run by the Mashpee Wampanoag with help from their scary new international investors.  A veritable recipe for virtuosity.

Hey do we have that new enterprise-crime bill in place yet??

Yup, the same enterprise-crime bill Therese Murray once rooted so strongly for - so that we can try to catch some of all the new corruption and crime that comes with casinos.  Whoo-hoo!  Making casinos a teeny weeny bit safer for America!!

Absolutely brilliant. Hey, you know what? I think Tim Cahill ought to sign Rosenberg as his running mate and switch to the Massachusetts Doofocracy party.  T. Murray can be their campaign manager.

Listening to how some of our politicians plan to create new jobs and revenue for Massachusetts has been like having the Three Stooges tell us that the best cure for a bladder infection is a heart transplant - and that they're the best ones to perform the surgery.

Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard...

And so, just imagine my delight as I read this comment at the end of the article, posted by somebody named EquityLaw (pay attention to the second paragraph):

Like many state and local governments Massachusettes knows little about Indian Gambling law or perhaps they are purposely ignoring it because of inherent corruption. Indian tribes cannot operate any gambling casinos on Indian trust or reservation lands (sometimes mistakenly called sovereign lands) unless the state allows that type of gambling to others within the state. 25 USC 2710 d (see also Cabazon Tribe of California versus California (Gov. Wilson RPI) 480 U,S, 202.

The critical mistake for Mass. would be to amend the states Constitution to allow casino gambling. That is what opens the door to Indian gambling not only to the two Wampanoag tribal claimants but to any other tribe who could claim Mass. was part of their aboriginal territory.

In addition, the lure of the creation of "jobs", albeit low paying, transient and unprotected jobs (none of the laws protecting workers apply to Indian tribes and their businesses) there are a host of additional problems created. Indian tribes and their businesses pay no taxes to fund the public services and infrastructure they use regularly. Any agreement with any government to make payments "in lieu of taxes" are usually worthless and, at best, difficult to enforce. That is becasue Indian tribes and their businesses refuse to divulge the necessary information to calculate the payments and they cannot be sued because of an outdated court created doctrine giving them immunity from lawsuits. (Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma versus Manufacturing Tech. Inc. 523 U.S. 751) Customers have no protections and cannot sue for injury or damages either. In addition these gambling casinos bring a host of social problems like increased crime, divorce and family neglect, substances abuses, gambling addictions, bankruptcy and credit problems, etc.

Lastly these Indian casinos are not "destination resorts". Rather their gamblers come from within 100 miles and are most often people playing slot machines with money many cannot afford to lose at their convenient nearby casino. They simply drain discretionary monies from surrounding comunities and by providing "jobs" that do not generate anywhere near enough money to off-set the negative impacts.
5/26/2010 10:39 AM EDT
Beautifully said, EquityLaw! And thank you!

EquityLaw for Governor!

So please... I strongly suggest that anyone who thinks that they're safe from the Tribal scourge, now that the Mashpee have been embraced by Fall River, to think again, and to urge all Mass. Senators, and the Governor while you're at it, to call for a thorough and independent cost benefit analysis that computes the potential for 2 - 8 tribal casinos before making any new gambling law.

Because doing so isn't a crapshoot. It's more like loaded dice.


Middleboro Remembers said...

There was an expression when I was a kid:

"Those who can, do, those who can't, _____ (fill in the blank)"

I waited all these years to discover that "blank" was "become politicians."

We are truly blessed with a few elected officals who conducted their own research, asked pertinent questions, and voted to oppose slots. 37 in the House to be exact.

This process has revealed folks like Rosenberg to be standing naked, incapable of critical thinking and willing to behave like nincumpoops, intoxicated with casino KoolAid and maybe generous campaign contributions. I wonder how many casinos Rosenberg visited 'comped' his visit.

It's pretty pathetic when an anonymous poster has a greater understanding of pertinent law than the legislators who are supposed to making informed decisions.

One legislator even told me that he voted for the bill to prevent a casino from going to Middleboro. How gullible was I to mistakenly believe he was a legislator capable of making a well reasoned decision?

Anonymous said...

Middleboro Remembers: same story, same legislator, and same gullibility I had.

EquityLaw: where have you been?
You know it, you've written it, the facts about tribal casino's!

Pay attention Middleboro Board of Selectman. If you do your own research you know EquityLaw has gotten it *all* right.