The California Tribal Business Alliance strongly disagrees with Governor Jerry Brown’s concurrence with the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to allow two casino projects to move forward off their land. The Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians in Yuba County and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians in Madera County were given the green light to build casinos over 30 miles off their current tribal land to areas that are more economically viable.
The governor’s decision goes against what voters approved with the passage of Propositions 1A and 5, initiatives allowing Indian tribes to operate gaming on current tribal lands for the purposes of achieving self-sufficient tribal governments and economies. By allowing these projects to move forward, Governor Brown encourages tribes across the state to shop around for the most profitable locations to build casinos, often miles away from their reservation, and opens the door for investors to search for tribes and cities who are in need of financial assistance. North Fork’s casino project is financed by an out-of-state nontribal casino that stands to make a lot of money from Californians and take a majority of that money out of state.
“It undermines the tribes who have already built and operate casinos on their own tribal lands,” said CTBA Chairwoman Leslie Lohse. “This is no longer about tribes being self-sufficient on their own terms and on their own land. This is about investors trying to make money off a profitable industry on their terms.”
CTBA urges the governor to work with tribal governments to create strict guidelines for future decisions pertaining to off-reservation casino projects. These guidelines should include distance limitations that prohibit tribes from building casinos great distances from their current land because the area is more profitable. “Failure to do so will be the end of tribal gaming as we know it, said Lohse, putting at jeopardy the livelihood of tribal governments across the state.”
Chairwoman Leslie Lohse,
California Tribal Business Alliance