Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Court Ruling: Slams Doors Shut on New Casinos

Pretty exciting - really takes a big bite out of those never-strong "inevitability" arguments. Now casino proponents can't even make disengenous arguments, just flat out lies if they continue to say casinos are inevitable. They aren't - in no form whatsoever, even as bingo halls, at least as it applies to Massachusetts.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday limited the federal government's authority to hold land in trust for Indian tribes, a victory for Rhode Island and other states seeking to impose local laws and control over development on Indian lands.

The court's ruling applies to tribes recognized by the federal government after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.

The U.S. government argued that the law allows it to take land into trust for tribes regardless of when they were recognized, but Justice Clarence Thomas said in his majority opinion that the law "unambiguously refers to those tribes that were under the federal jurisdiction" when it was enacted.

To make this more clear, even I thought that tribes in Massachusetts could use the federal process to legalize a bingo hall in Massachusetts, for example. The only thing holding them back from slots was the fact that we don't have Class 3 gambling legal in Massachusetts - but we do allow lower forms of gambling, thus I thought tribes could have built a bingo hall with games like Keno and the like. However, this new ruling makes it clear that new tribes can't even do that.

Given all the corruption that's surrounded the newer tribes, including the Wampanoags in Massachusetts, it's pretty clear that many of these tribes were formed primarily to build casinos for Abramoff and the like. That's essentially what the courts have discovered in the case against the former head of the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts, where the Ambramoff folks channeled millions into the Wampanoag efforts to gain federal recognition, prompting Glenn Marshall, the former chief, to plead guilty.

Update: Did I forget to mention the industry wouldn't build any large-scale resort casinos in Massachusetts anyway?

Even as the political stars are lining up on Beacon Hill, the downturn in the gambling and tourism markets may force state officials to reevaluate and potentially scale back their plans. For instance, casino executives said they would be far less likely to spend $200 million to $300 million for a 10-year license and agree to pay at least 27 percent of casino revenue to the state, which were the numbers proposed by Patrick last year....

"Nobody is going to go build the next version of the Mirage in Massachusetts right now," said Gary Loveman, the chief executive at Harrah's Entertainment, which operates seven Las Vegas hotel casinos. "It's just not feasible."

1 comment:

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

We must all bring pressure to bear with our legislators.

What other new industry is proposed with legislation with built-in safeguards to limit it's growth as in Patrick's three casino plan?

What other industry comes with $100M worth of required oversight in the way of casino oversight and regulatory groups?

What other industry tries to sell itself by tugging the old heartstrings about all the wonderful jobs it will bring while failing to mention that many of those jobs will come at the expense of existing jobs as money is transferred from one segment of the economy to the casinos?

What other industry comes with known increases in addictive behavior?

Massachusetts can do better. It's up to us to demand that our legislators fully vet the benefits and costs of casinos.

About Ryan's Take