Arizona's Tribal Gaming Rules
Tribal Gaming Rules Leave Little to Chance!
I read with interest your June 30th editorial “Growing pains” about the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearings headed by Arizona Sen. John McCain.
When Arizona voters passed Proposition 202 in 2002. they ensured hat tribal governmental gaming in Arizona would remain limited and regulated, These two decisions define the present and future of gaming in our state.
Most often, public discussion enters on our strong and vigilant system of regulation. In Arizona gaming is regulated by the tribes, the state and the federal government through the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Our state compact is recognized as a model for the country because the state and tribes are partners in ensuring the integrity of the industry.
Just as tribes are committed to protecting the industry, so is the state of Arizona. The state is firmly committed to a strong regulatory presence with the tribes, a mode; other states should learn from.
However our unique decision to limit gaming is equally deserving of praise. Our tribal-state compact limits gaming in three key ways. Tribes are limited as to the types of games that can be played, the numbers of games allowed, and the total number of gaming facilities that can be operated within the state.
As for transparency, out compact requires that tribes fully disclose their financials to the Arizona Department of Gaming and the federal Indian Gaming Commission. These are reported quarterly, and the size of the industry is posted on the state gaming department’s Website and reported in the newspaper four times a year.
Under our compact, both gaming and non-gaming tribes are using revenues from gaming to provide public education, health care, housing, and other essential services to their members. At the same time, tribes are sharing millions of dollars with state and local governments to support education, emergency trauma care, wildlife conservation and tourism statewide.
Tribes also fund regulatory expenses incurred by the state gaming department and provide support for problem gambling. Additionally, 12 percent of the revenues shared are directed to city, town and country governments, either through direct grants by tribes or through the Local Communities Fund of the state’s Commerce and Economic Development Commission.
Our system is working for all of us. Gaming in our state is so well regulated and limited that we like to say that, in Arizona, nothing is left to chance.
Shelia Morago, Phoenix
‘Our System Is Working For All Of us!’
Ms. Morago seems to be on target as confirmed in a bylined story by Matt Hanson in the July 29th Business section of the Arizona Republic which reads ‘state’s quarterly share of casino pot up 20%,’
“A healthier economy and more casino amenities helped the state collect a record $21.8 million in Indian gaming revenue during the second quarter.”
While the figure varies depending on the time of year – of course, it increases from October to April when winter visitors flock to southern Arizona to escape the northern snow and cold – the share has increased consistently since Arizona’s tribes signed new contracts with the state in 2003.
Under the compacts, Arizona’s 15 tribes with gaming operations donate part of their casino revenue every three months to he state. The money is disbursed to six groups: Casino regulation; schools; health care; wildlife conservation; state tourism; and efforts to prevent gambling problems.
By state law, schools get the largest share. $10.9 million, followed by $5.4 million to the trauma and emergency fund. The tribes also gave $3 million directly to Arizona to Arizona’s cities, towns and counties. Another $1.6 million went to the Arizona Office of Tourism.
A rosier economy might be the biggest reason for the revenue increases according to Shelia Morago, executive director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.
“Arizona casinos have added some gambling devices this year,” Morago said, “but better business is mostly attributed to other added amenities such as restaurants and concerts.”
Last fiscal year, the tribe’s total donation to the state was about $74 million which included direct contributions to cities, towns and counties.
‘NATIVES IN HOLLYWOOD: HOW FAR HAVE WE COME?’
It’s Roscoe Pond’s Poster Exhibit to be featured at the 37th Annual Indian Center PowWow to be held at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, July 29th, 30th and 31st.
Roscoe invites you to drop by and say “Hello”!
NATIVE UNITY - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.
For news and information on Native American and First Nations actors, go to Annie's site at www.NativeCelebs.com and follow the threads.
The Conservative View by Ken Hughes: