WIGA News Clips March 9, 2005
Tulalips' outlet center to open in May The Seattle Times 5/9/05
Casino seniors The News Tribune 5/9/05
Let the games begin: The economic impact of Indian gaming Indian Country Today
Benge: Casinos a big boost to reservation lifestyles The Tucson Citizen 5/9/05
Study: Casinos a boost to both tribes and state Statesman Journal 5/9/05
Tribes press case on gaming The Oregonian 5/9/05
Tulalips' outlet center to open in May
By Monica Soto Ouchi
Seattle Times retail reporter
No longer for sale: the six-fingered glove.
Seattle Premium Outlets, a collection of 100 designer and name-brand outlet stores,
opens May 5 at the Tulalip Tribes' commercial center, Quil Ceda Village.
The 383,000-square-foot center, developed by Simon-owned Chelsea Property Group,
will sell only discounted merchandise from high-end retailers, such as Ann Taylor,
Brooks Brothers, Movado and Coach.
But the outlet center, built from the ground up, speaks more about the evolution of the
industry — once known as the place to buy discounted, irregular goods.
"It was overruns, things that didn't sell well," said Paula Rowland, chief marketing officer
of Baltimore-based Prime Retail, which runs outlet centers in some 20 states. "That outlet
industry — that's your parent's industry."
Outlet centers, which feature stores owned and operated by the manufacturer, is a
In the mid- to late 1800s, apparel and shoe mill stores on the Eastern seaboard offered
overruns and damaged merchandise to employees, Prime Retail says.
Eventually, these stores were opened to consumers, paving the way for factory-direct
The industry expanded during the 1970s and 1980s, due in part to the energy crisis,
falling discretionary income and more awareness of designer labels.
The industry shifted as outlet centers, which generally opened 25 to 40 miles from
"civilization," had communities crop up around them, Rowland said.
Outlet stores became the local mall, moving it into the legitimate ranks of fashion and
As outlet stores became profit centers, some manufacturers began to create a separate,
value-conscious line for its outlet stores, while others focused on excess merchandise
from previous seasons.
Irregular goods, however, continued to shrink as a percentage of items sold in stores — it
represents less than 15 percent of all outlet goods, Prime Retail says.
Seattle-based retail experts Richard Outcalt and Patricia Johnson said they see a further
shift: the opening of new outlet malls adjacent to casinos.
"Increasingly, outlet shopping and casino gambling are today's entertainment for a large
segment of our population," Johnson said.
In Washington, Seattle Premium Outlets will join six other outlet centers.
Michele Rothstein, Chelsea Property Group's vice president of marketing, says the
company expects the new center to draw from a larger radius than a traditional mall and
to draw tourists who shop at its outlets in places such as Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas.
"They want the brands; they want the savings; and they want to shop in a nice setting that
isn't a sacrifice," she said.
Monica Soto Ouchi: 206-515-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gambling field trips are popular ways to spend some hard-earned money and have some
DEBBIE CAFAZZO; The News Tribune
Last updated: March 7th, 2005 06:40 AM
It’s 8:30 on a frosty morning and a group of senior citizens mill outside University Place
City Hall, stamping feet and blowing on fingers to keep warm.
―The bus is one minute late,‖ one man observes.
But as soon as it rolls into sight, the grumbling stops and faces light up. Because today,
these fun seekers are headed down the highway, looking for adventure. Their destination:
the Quinault tribal casino at Ocean Shores.
While Puget Sound-area casinos do much of their business at night, they do their best to
entice seniors with time on their hands to play during the day. Up and down the I-5
corridor, senior centers and social organizations sponsor gambling field trips to casinos
that cater to their needs with meal discounts and other special deals.
―Seniors are an important market for us,‖ said Dan Malvini, casino manager for the
Quinault Beach and Resort Casino.
The casino hosts between five and eight senior buses a week, averaging 45 guests per
bus, said CEO Bob Southall. Most stay on the property at least five hours. Some choose
to stay overnight in the adjacent resort hotel.
This trip to the Quinault casino, sponsored by the University Place Senior Center, offers a
buffet lunch, discount coupons to use inside the casino and – most important for older
people who don’t like driving long distances – transportation. The casino picks up the
costs. But each passenger on this trip pays $8 – it’s a fund-raiser for the senior center.
And for most of them, getting there is at least half the fun.
On the road
Evelyn Bogrand, our tour escort and unofficial mistress of merrymaking for the day,
helps passengers who need assistance up the bus steps. The bus driver folds up a few
walkers and stashes them in the cargo hold.
Inside the toasty coach, friends find seats together, while strangers warm up to each
other. One woman in a purple jacket invites a man wearing a striped cap to sit next to her.
―I won’t bite,‖ she says.
―It’s OK,‖ he replies, taking the seat. ―I like beautiful women.‖
Bogrand picks up the microphone on the bus public address system and sets the tone with
a joke: ―Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll be your escort today. I want a friendly
trip. If you’re going to be grouchy, I charge $5 extra.‖
As the miles roll by, Bogrand knows where the priorities lie with this crowd. She urges
anyone who has to use the onboard restroom to get their business taken care of before we
pass through Aberdeen on our way to the Pacific Ocean.
―The last 16 miles are kind of curvy, and we don’t want you to get hurt,‖ she tells
Bogrand asks if there are any upcoming birthdays or anniversaries among the passengers.
Anneke Mason proudly announces her 73rd birthday, and everyone sings ―Happy
Birthday‖ to her.
As the bus heads south on I-5, Bogrand keeps up a steady banter over the PA, spouting
demographics about the cities and towns we pass along the way, and pointing out the
Capitol Dome as we motor past Olympia.
By the time we reach Mud Bay, west of Olympia, it’s time for a little taste of things to
come: bingo. Bogrand calls ―N-44,‖ and four passengers – birthday girl Mason, Dorie
Cassman, Sally Guttu and Hazel Miller – all shout ―Bingo!‖ at once.
Betty Knoll decides she hasn’t fared too well. She’s been able to check off only a few
numbers on her bingo card.
―I’ll save my luck for the casino,‖ she decides.
Rules of the game
About 11 a.m., the bus pulls up to the resort, which is right on the beach. Before we
disembark, Bogrand explains how the casino operates. Rather than feeding the machines
cash, customers pay for a cash card in advance and use the cards to operate the video
―You have to use it,‖ Bogrand says. ―You have to show you played the games, and that
you didn’t just come down to walk the beach. I hate to say it that way, but those are the
new rules and regulations.‖
It’s Mardi Gras time, so every visitor is greeted by a casino employee who bestows
plastic purple necklaces on each passenger, as well as coupons good for lunch and
Bogrand tells everyone they’re on their own until the bus departs at 3 p.m.
Most passengers head for the hot buffet line first, lunch coupons in hand, then carry
brimming plates to the oceanside dining area. The morning fog has burned off under a
midday sun, and it’s tempting to just sit and watch through the expansive windows as the
waves crash onto the beach.
But banks of video gambling machines beckon.
Pay to play
While public officials and gambling opponents worry whether senior citizens are
particularly vulnerable to gambling addiction, the attitude on this trip is ―We worked hard
for our money, and now we’re going to have some fun and spend it.‖
Few of these passengers appear to be high rollers. Most say they have set limits – $50,
$100 – on how much they can afford to lose at the casino. And when they reach their
limit, they promise, they will stop.
A study by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago compared
national surveys on gambling from 1975 and 1998. The report showed that gambling had
increased dramatically among older people – more than doubling in prevalence over the
decades. But the report said the numbers didn’t necessarily represent a gambling
epidemic among seniors. Rather, it pointed to the extraordinarily low prevalence of
gambling in the 65-plus set, relative to their population, back in the 1970s.
Even though gambling opportunities have expanded and public attitudes have changed
since then, many of the players on this trip say they are too embarrassed to have their
names in the newspaper. One Lakewood woman, who doesn’t want to give her name,
cites her excuse for gambling: a recent study by Yale researchers that found senior
gamblers were healthier than other seniors.
Win or lose
It’s hard to resist the temptation to compare these seniors, staring at rows of video
screens, to teenagers facing computer games. They are just as mesmerized by the
blinking screens and just as delighted with the flashy video graphics.
―This is my favorite,‖ says a woman staring intently at a Keno Madness game. As she
presses buttons with the eraser end of a pencil, the game sucks money from her prepaid
plastic card 50 cents at a time.
She says she’ll continue to play until she’s either won – when she’ll tuck her winnings
into a special compartment of her purse – or reached her loss limit for the day.
―I like the ones that make noise,‖ she chuckles at the Keno game. ―I feel like I’m at least
getting something for my money.‖
Over at the Wheel of Fortune, a favorite among seniors who say they enjoy the TV show
of the same name, Alma Lee is trying her luck.
But she doesn’t really expect to hit the big jackpot.
―I’m not spending a lot of money,‖ she said. ―I’m just having fun.‖
Hilton Miller has borrowed wife Donna’s glasses so he can see the screen at the
Meltdown game better. Three matching bars will earn him $50, he says, and a complete
meltdown would add $2,400 to his card. But Donna says she’s willing to risk only $50 at
―If I lose, I lose,‖ she says. ―Then I stop. I don’t want to go completely broke here.‖
Hilton says he’s ―not really a gambler at heart.‖ Perhaps that’s because, at 70, he’s still a
working man, putting in hours as a chef at a Tacoma retirement home where he says he’s
older than half the people who live there.
―I’ve talked to gamblers,‖ Miller says. ―It’s not the game, or winning the money (that
gives them a thrill). It’s the chase, the anticipation. I can walk away from that.‖
By 3 p.m., he’ll have to.
As passengers settle into their bus seats for the return trip back to University Place,
Bogrand asks for a show of hands of winners.
―Who wants to say how much?‖ she asks. The lucky ones volunteer: $194, $70, $128,
Not enough to send anyone home rich.
―I won, and I lost,‖ says the woman from Lakewood. ―But I had fun. You gotta have fun
in life. You can’t take it with you, right?‖
Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635 email@example.com
Let the games begin: The economic impact of Indian gaming
Posted: March 09, 2005
by: Tom Wanamaker / Indian Country Today
As the Indian gaming industry continues its double-digit annual growth rate, its impact,
effect and stature expand proportionally. In 2004, tribal gaming operations posted
approximately $18.5 billion in total revenue, cementing gaming as Indian country's most
successful economic enterprise. Related businesses brought in another $2.5 billion.
As the industry grows, so does its impact beyond reservation boundaries and its place in
the public eye.
The National Indian Gaming Association's 2004 economic impact analysis shows a
dynamic industry that has helped dozens of tribal governments rebuild their societies. If
there is any ''surprise'' in the report, it is the profound and measured economic effect of
Indian gaming on surrounding communities.
Last year's total revenue represents a 10 percent jump over the $16.7 billion generated in
2003, yet another double-digit increase in annual percentage growth. In 2003 the entire
gaming industry - including state lotteries, Indian and commercial casinos and charitable
gaming - generated $72.8 million in revenue. Indian gaming's share was nearly one-
quarter of that.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requires gaming revenues be used for specific
purposes, and NIGA member tribes have put their revenues to good use. According to the
report, ''20 percent of net revenue is used for education, child and elder care, cultural
preservation, charitable donations and other purposes; 29 percent goes to economic
development; 17 percent to health care; 17 percent to police and fire protection; 16
percent to infrastructure; and 11 percent to housing.''
Nationwide, Indian gaming directly created 220,000 new jobs, while ancillary spending
and expansion projects boosted the industry's total employment impact to 553,000 new
jobs nationwide in 2004. NIGA reported that the $18 billion in wages paid by tribal
governments generated $2.7 billion in federal taxes, $2.8 billion in Social Security taxes,
and $1.8 million in state taxes and ''direct revenue-sharing payments.''
Other than perhaps the defense industry, few other economic sectors can boast that kind
of growth or contribution to the nation's economic viability. The NIGA report offers
examples of successful gaming and other business ventures and reminds us that Indian
country as a whole continues to face considerable poverty and economic disadvantages.
The report is available at www.indiangaming.org.
An Indian nation as an economic engine?
Proponents of Indian gaming often tout those large-scale financial benefits and the spin-
off non-reservation economic development that often sprouts up around successful
For a detailed look at how one gaming operation in upstate New York has affected its
regional economic picture, we turn to the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, N.Y.
which, like this newspaper, is an enterprise of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York.
Independent researchers at Colgate University's Upstate Institute in Hamilton, N.Y.
recently released a study entitled ''The Employment Effects of Oneida Nation
Enterprises'' (online at www.colgate.edu) which examined the fiscal impact the Nation,
currently central New York's third largest employer through its business ventures, has on
the neighboring counties of Madison, Oneida and Onondaga.
The Nation directly employs slightly more than 4,200 people, 97 percent of whom are
non-Indian. ''Multiplier effects'' and capital projects indirectly accounted for another
3,600 jobs in the area. Direct employment has grown 42.5 percent over the past four
years and is expected to reach 5,000 this summer.
The Nation paid out $109 million in salaries, wages and benefits in 2004 while spending
$175 million on construction. The Nation paid its vendors more than $342 million in
2004, $59.8 million of which went to companies in the three neighboring counties.
In 2004, Nation employees paid $11.5 million in federal and state income taxes and $13.2
million in Medicaid and Social Security taxes. Factoring in similar revenues from jobs
indirectly created by the Nation's enterprises, the report states that ''the total amount of
payroll tax revenue directed to the New York state and federal governments as a result of
Oneida Nation Enterprises in the 2004 fiscal year was approximately $46.3 million.''
Public hearings have begun on New York Gov. George Pataki's proposal to award three
Catskill casinos to non-New York tribes in return for land claim settlements and tax
collection agreements. Testimony is by invitation only, but omitted from the guest list are
some important interested parties: New York's resident Indian tribes. Given their
commitment to the region and the state, as demonstrated above, the Oneidas in particular
are rightly peeved.
The tribes from Wisconsin and Oklahoma, whose capitulation to Pataki's tax-collection
demands has effectively undermined years of resistance by the New York tribes, will get
a voice at the hearings. But in shunning New York's Oneida and Seneca nations, the
governor has shown that financial considerations trump good relations between Albany
and the New York tribes; the fact that Pataki has directed the state tax department to draft
tax collection regulations for Indian business confirms this attitude.
Pataki's plan will eventually and ultimately be rejected because the Feds will not want to
set a precedent allowing tribes to cross state lines for gaming purposes. When that
happens, Pataki will be forced to deal with New York's resident tribes.
One critical question remains that Pataki has yet to answer - how can the Oneida land
claim be settled without the participation of the New York Oneidas?
Benge: Casinos a big boost to reservation lifestyles
Gannett News Service
For centuries, the numbers of life have been stacked against the nation's first people.
Native Americans were last, or nearly so, in life expectancy, education, income, job
skills, decent housing and economic opportunity. But they were first, or nearly so, in
infant mortality, poverty, unemployment, diabetes, clinical despair and premature death.
Life began to improve in 1988 after congressional approval of the Indian Gaming
Regulatory Act, which empowered the nation's Indian people to establish gaming
operations on their tribal lands.
The decade of the 1990s and the early years of this century have brought success and
hope to thousands of Native Americans.
Two recent reports have documented this era of new optimism.
The National Indian Gaming Association said that in 2004:
Tribal gaming generated gross revenues of $18.5 billion.
The number of jobs created by tribal gaming and related businesses exceeded 553,000.
Charitable contributions from gaming tribes topped $100 million.
Moreover, The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development reported
that from 1990 to 2000:
Reservation residents' per capita income growth rate was three times the U.S. average.
The unemployment rate for Indians on gaming reservations dropped from 26 percent to
The number of college graduates in all Indian areas increased by 2 or 3 percentage points.
At a Washington, D.C., news conference a range of Indian leaders described how tribal
gaming revenue has helped their reservations.
"Tribal gaming has had an enormous, positive impact on the people of Prairie Island,"
said Doreen Hagen, Tribal Council president of the Prairie Island Indian Community in
"Tribal government gaming has provided community members with jobs. Nearly 75
percent of the adult members of my tribe have been employed directly or indirectly by
our government gaming operations.
"We now provide our own social services - specifically designed to meet the distinct
cultural and traditional needs of Indian people."
Hagen cited a new community center with a library, gymnasium and exercise facilities, a
Mayo Clinic constructed on the reservation, sanitary water and sewer lines, a state-of-the-
art water-treatment facility, a new police department and educational assistance for all
Clearly, tribal gaming have brought needed relief to Hagen's and other Indian people.
But the gains realized over the past 14 years are only fragile baby steps on the long road
to recovery from centuries of economic exploitation and cultural genocide.
Still, it's a positive start deserving of our applause and support.
George Benge, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, writes on American Indian issues. E-mail:
Study: Casinos a boost to both tribes and state
Thousands of jobs created; Indian poverty rate down
March 9, 2005
Oregon's American Indian casinos are lifting rural towns and tribes out of poverty and
stimulating the state economy, according to a new study.
Tribal casinos contribute $1 billion per year to the Oregon economy and generate
millions in taxes for state and local governments, according to the report commissioned
by the tribes.
The report by ECONorthwest was released Tuesday at the Capitol by the Oregon Gaming
Alliance, a consortium of Oregon's nine casino-owning tribes.
"In the 1800s, our land was taken away," said Sue Shaffer, chairwoman of the Cow Creek
Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. "But today, the tribes are giving. They are giving
opportunity and hope."
The study was ordered by the alliance, which was formed to promote the positive impacts
of tribal gaming in the state.
Nearly 11,000 full- and part-time jobs were supported -- directly and indirectly -- by
tribal gaming in 2003, the year analyzed in the study.
State and local governments collected $42.6 million in taxes through gaming that year,
through personal and corporate income taxes and property taxes. Also, tribes contributed
$7.2 million to community organizations in 2003.
The most direct effect of tribal gaming is seen in the rural areas were the casinos are
located, the study said.
Seven Feathers Casino opened in Oregon in 1994 as the first after the Cow Creek Band of
Umpqua Indians converted its 2-year-old bingo hall. The newest, the Three Rivers
Casino, opened in June in Florence. It's operated by the Coos, Lower Umpqua and
That confederated tribe is still paying off debts after years of lawsuits about placement of
the casino, said Bob Garcia, the economic development director for the tribe. But the
immediate benefit of a $6 million payroll already is buoying the former timber town, he
said. Nine out of 10 casino jobs are held by nontribal members.
Casino jobs pay twice as much as other service jobs in rural areas, according to the
The benefit to Indians in Oregon also is measured in the study. While the poverty rate
among Indian people is more than twice that of other Oregonians, it fell 7.5 percent in the
decade after 1990. Many casinos were built in the middle to late 1990s. There were
similar declines in unemployment rates among Indians in that time.
"As a result of Indian gaming and economic development, we've been able to fight our
way back," said Ernest Stevens, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association in
That group ordered a similar study for its 180 member tribes. It found that tribal gaming
around the country generated $5.5 billion in federal taxes in 2004 and reduced federal
unemployment and welfare payments by $1.4 billion.
"In spite of what some might say, Indian Country is paying far more than its fair share,"
said Stevens, an Oneida.
The study also put Indian casino revenues in context of other gaming enterprises in the
state for the first time.
While Oregonians spent $384 million in Indian casinos in 2003, they spent two-thirds
more on Oregon Lottery games. Since the lottery has an inexpensive overhead compared
to casinos, the report said, the state's direct profit from the lottery is far greater than the
tribes' profit on casinos.
Oregon public schools, the top beneficiary of the Oregon Lottery, received $500 million
from gaming during the 2001-03 biennium. The next to profit were lottery retailers, with
sales commissions of $373 million.
Oregon's eight casinos came in third, netting $189 million in that time period.
Those profits may be diluted if nontribal casinos enter the market. Private casino
developers have asked lawmakers to allow a nontribal casino near the Portland area or
they'll take the issue to the ballot.
The Cowlitz Tribe of Washington has proposed building the Northwest's largest casino
just north of Vancouver.
In light of those proposals, Oregon Rep. John Lim, R-Gresham, introduced a bill this
week that would limit the number of Oregon tribal casinos to the current nine. He wants
to protect the state and tribe's share of the potentially thinning gaming revenue.
"I think that is a reasonable number," he said. "Not because of (the potential of more)
Indian casinos, but to defend our economy from Washington state."
Lim said it's clear that gambling provides many benefits for parks, education and human
services, but the cost of gambling addiction isn't as well studied. In 1999, he sponsored a
bill that became a mandate for the Oregon Lottery to spend 1 percent of profits on
addiction treatment services.
Rep. Tom Butler, R-Ontario, commended the tribal leaders Tuesday for pulling
themselves up by their "moccasins" and making good use of gaming revenue. He said as
the state becomes more reliant on gaming for income, it could learn from the tribe's
In Grand Ronde, profits from the casino have built education centers, elder housing, a
health center and tribal headquarters.
Chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy said the tribe is preparing to build a traditional gathering
place, a recreation center, an elder foster-care facility and a new human-resources
This year, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community will have given out
$30 million to organizations since the inception of the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.
Kennedy said she hopes the gaming alliance and the study will help spread such news.
"The alliance is really a demonstration that there is an effort to get the word out that we
are contributing to the state," she said.
tmclain@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6705
Tribes press case on gaming
A study released today finds that the industry means $1 billion a year for Oregon's
economy and sustains thousands of jobs
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
SALEM -- Oregon tribal casinos pump more than $1 billion a year into the state's
economy and help support more than 10,000 jobs, according to a new report
commissioned by the tribes that will be released today.
Tribal leaders, worried about competition from the Oregon Lottery and private casino
proposals, produced the report in an attempt to demonstrate their economic importance,
particularly in rural areas.
"We have a place in this economy," said Gary George, chairman of the Oregon Gaming
Alliance, a consortium of nine tribes that operate casinos. "We're trying to raise the
awareness of Indian gaming and what it is all about."
The study was authored by Robert Whelan, a Portland economist for the ECONorthwest
consulting firm who has followed the gambling business in Oregon for years. It says
tribal gambling's impact ripples beyond the 5,300 casino-related jobs to include
additional spending for tribal services and more business for suppliers and construction
The nine tribal casinos across the state range from Spirit Mountain Casino, with 1,500
slot machines and a Las Vegas-style atmosphere in the Coast Range, to the 150-terminal
Old Camp Casino in the isolated southeastern town of Burns. Altogether, they generated
a reported $189 million in profits in 2003 for the tribes.
Although tribal gambling has grown rapidly since the first casino was established in
Oregon in 1994, it is still a distant second in gambling revenue to the Oregon Lottery. In
2003, the year the study focused on, bettors lost $638 million playing the lottery,
compared with $384 million at tribal casinos.
The tribes have become concerned that their share of the market is vulnerable to
competition from an expanding lottery and new casino proposals, including one close to
the lucrative Portland market. George said he also worries that gambling opponents may
try a ballot measure that would curtail legal gambling in the state.
At the behest of Gov. Ted Kulongoski, the lottery recently decided to offer electronic slot
games that more directly compete with gambling terminals, which are the mainstay at the
In La Center, Wash., just north of the Oregon border on Interstate 5, the Cowlitz tribe is
proceeding with plans to build a casino that would be the Northwest's largest. And two
Lake Oswego entrepreneurs say they have the backing of a major casino company for a
Portland-area casino and entertainment complex. They have said they plan to ask Oregon
voters to amend the state constitution to allow the casino, which they said would
contribute directly to state coffers.
Poverty rate declines
Whatever the future, the study concluded that the casinos have had a measurable effect
on tribal members and nearby communities.
From 1990 to 2000, the poverty rate among the state's Native Americans dropped by 7.5
percent, a far greater decline than for Oregon as a whole, the study showed. Income and
educational gains among Native Americans also grew more rapidly than among other
Oregonians. However, Native Americans -- who numbered slightly more than 32,500 in
the 2000 Census -- still are more likely to be poor and less well-educated.
The report also found that casino workers on average made more than twice the wage of
leisure and hospitality workers in the eight counties where the casinos operated in 2003.
They also typically received employer-paid health care and retirement benefits. The study
made no attempt to quantify the number of tribal members employed at casinos, although
other reports have shown they are a minority of the work force.
The nine casinos reported investing $245 million in capital improvements, which the
study said was about 11 percent of the amount spent in Oregon to construct lodging and
other social and recreational facilities since 1992.
Unlike the lottery, which turns over its profits to the state, tribal gambling does not
produce any direct revenue for the state or local governments. But the economic activity
did generate almost $43 million in state and local taxes in 2003, the study said, and the
tribes contributed more than $7 million that year to community projects.
John Mitchell, an economist at U.S. Bancorp, said much of the economic activity
generated by the tribal casinos could have been diverted from other leisure and
entertainment activities in Oregon. But it also represented economic contributions from
out-of-state visitors and from Oregonians who otherwise would have gone out of state to
gamble, he said.
George, the tribal alliance chairman, said some of the casinos also have spurred an
important flow of money from the state's urban areas to more rural parts.
If the tribes lose ground to increased lottery competition, he said, "You're taking away
from the rural communities and having the money sent to Salem."
Bill Perry of the Oregon Restaurant Association, which represents many lottery retailers,
said the addition of electronic slot games would not greatly hurt the tribal casinos. He
said the lottery is mostly offering "a game of convenience," while the casinos offer
broader entertainment options.
Pockets of support
The tribes also have strong support in many key political quarters. Ecumenical Ministries
of Oregon, which represents many mainline churches, played a big role in fending off a
proposed anti-gambling ballot measure in the late 1990s for fear it would hurt the tribes.
Phillip Kennedy-Wong, public policy director at Ecumenical Ministries, said the group
opposed the new electronic slot games and opposes the state's heavy reliance on
gambling revenues. But, he said, his group didn't want to stand in the way of the tribes
turning to gambling as a way to improve their economic standing.
"It's critical we consider the tribes in any kind of discussion about gaming," said Senate
Majority Leader Kate Brown, D-Portland, who is a member of the Legislative
Commission on Indian Services.
Rep. Tom Butler, R-Ontario, another commission member, said he has urged the tribes to
work hard to use their gambling profits to diversify into other enterprises.
"The time for making a fortune in gaming may soon pass," he said.
Jeff Mapes: 503-221-8209; firstname.lastname@example.org