SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: December 6, 2005
CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
COUNTY BETS ON CASINO CONSOLIDATION TO PROTECT BACKCOUNTRY
SAN DIEGO - As an alternative to the scattering of large-scale Indian casinos in rural communities, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to support Casino Consolidation, a concept that allows for the co-location of Indian casinos on reservations.
The concept was developed by the Viejas and Ewiiaapaayp Bands of Kumeyaay Indians working in partnership with officials from the County and the State. The tribes are proposing to co-locate an Ewiiaapaayp casino on the Viejas reservation, a plan that would end a legal battle between the tribes and require a new and more rigorous gaming compact with the State. The tribes had been feuding over plans to build an Ewiiaapaayp gaming facility on land that currently houses a health clinic about one mile west of the Viejas casino.
“Casino Consolidation is a win-win-win. It’s a win for the Ewiiaapaayp, a win for Viejas and a win for the County,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob who last month traveled to Washington D.C. to testify before a Congressional committee about the benefits of Casino Consolidation. “It can be a win for other parts of the Nation too,” Jacob said.
Under draft federal legislation, Casino Consolidation would allow a tribe with an existing casino, such as Viejas, to partner with a second tribe that is proposing to build a casino, such as Ewiiaapaayp. The host tribe then allows the second tribe to build the proposed casino at the same site as the existing one.
“The Ewiiaapaayp will gain an economic opportunity the tribe otherwise would not have because their remote reservation is entirely unsuitable for development and Viejas will receive a portion of the facility’s revenue,” said Jacob. “Most importantly, the proposal would give the County a seat at the table to enter into an enforceable agreement to identify significant off-reservation impacts and call for adequate mitigation measures,” Jacob said.
Jacob cited increased traffic and demands on law enforcement, decreased groundwater and changes in community character as some of the unintended consequences of casino development.
San Diego County is home to more Indian reservations than any county in the United States at 18. The County has the greatest number of Indian tribes with gaming compacts with the State of California at 14. Currently, nine tribes in our County operate casinos. The County has been called the Indian Gaming Capitol of the Nation.