WIGA News Clips September 14 2005

Document Sample
WIGA News Clips September 14 2005 Powered By Docstoc
					                        WIGA News Clips September 14, 2005
HERALD 9/13/05





Craig Bill giving priority to tribal health, education and economic issues

For the first time, a member of a Skagit County tribe has been appointed to the state's top
Indian affairs position.

Craig Bill, a Swinomish member, was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to improve
the sometimes-contentious relationship between the state and Washington's 29 tribal
governments as director of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs.

Tribal health and education and the growing tribal economies are high on Bill's list of
priorities. He'll also be helping develop new policies on the handling of Native American
remains, a controversial issue that has resulted in numerous lawsuits and high-profile
work stoppages in recent years.

Since being appointed in July, Bill said he has been involved in strengthening the
government-to-government relationship between the tribes and the state.

"I understand that these issues aren't going to be undone overnight," he said. "But if we
can make some strides in improving the lives of all, I'll feel like it was a great
accomplishment when this is all over."

The office Bill heads, which has been known under several titles since its establishment
in 1969, is the state government's lead liaison office with Washington tribes. It is tasked
with improving the relationship between state agencies and the tribes, and the well-being
of Washington's tribal residents.
In a statement issued earlier this month, Gregoire said Bill's "unique understanding" of
Washington tribes' concerns will help him improve the relationship between the tribes
and the state.

"I think he's going to make a great liaison for those communities to my office," Gregoire

Bill said he's enthusiastic about the possibilities the office holds.

"I'm just really excited, and I look forward to working with a lot of the tribes," he said.

Establishing an appropriate process to deal with Native American graves is one of the top
priorities for his office, Bill said. The state has been faulted in recent years for its reaction
to the discovery of several burial sites in Snohomish County and a large burial ground
near Port Angeles.

Bill said he hopes to fix the health care and education disparities between the state's
Native American residents and Washington's population as a whole.

By working with other directors of various minority affairs offices, Bill said he believes
the Indian Affairs office can help improve the health of people of color in Washington.

"We're really bringing together all the communities of color to address health disparities,"
he said.

Bill also said the governor hopes to strengthen economic partnerships between the tribes
and surrounding communities, as well as state workers' knowledge of tribal government.

The state currently offers training in intergovernmental affairs to state workers through
the Office of Indian Affairs. Bill said that program, which attempts to give state
employees working with the tribes a better understanding of tribal governance and
culture, will likely be expanded in coming years.

"It has helped break down their barriers and their preconceived thoughts on how tribes
interact," he said. "It's been really effective."

A 1998 graduate of Central Washington University in Ellensberg, Bill has been active in
tribal government for the past seven years.

Bill said he worked as director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Whatcom County-
based Lummi Nation for five years before accepting the post in the governor's office. He
also directed the state Democratic Party's Native American Vote campaign during the
2004 election.

Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 360-416-2138 or by e-mail at


Norwich Bulletin

NORTH STONINGTON -- The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation has been waiting four
months to see if it will regain its federal recognition. Monday the tribe learned it will
have to wait another month.

James E. Cason, associate deputy secretary for the secretary of the Interior, said Monday
he needed until Oct. 12 to review the case before handing down a decision.

The tribe expected to get the decision Monday.

Cason, in a letter to Marcia Jones Flowers, Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation chairwoman,
said he wanted to thoroughly consider all issues and accurately interpret relevant laws
applying to the case.

The Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation -- composed of the Eastern Pequot and Paucatuck
Eastern Pequot tribes, which had applied separately for recognition -- received federal
recognition in 2002 as one tribe.

But the Interior Board of Indian Appeals vacated that decision in May and remanded it to
Cason for reconsideration after State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the
towns of Preston, Ledyard and North Stonington claimed the tribe failed to meet federal
recognition standards and merging the tribes was illegal.

Flowers said, in a statement, she realizes the delay is a disappointment to tribal members
but understands the magnitude of the decision and is positive the tribe will prevail.

"In a decision of this magnitude, integrity matters, not timing, and we have confidence in
the (Office of Federal Acknowledgment's) process and that they will affirm that we meet
the criteria for recognition," Flowers said.

Blumenthal, in a statement Monday, said he hopes the delay is an indication the
recognition will get "the deliberation -- and denial -- it deserves."

Cason said the decision on recognition for the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation from Kent will
also be delayed until Oct. 12.

By Liz Benston <>

Starting today, thousands of casino operators and vendors will descend on the world's
gambling capital for Global Gaming Expo, the industry's largest trade show.

What began as a showcase for newfangled slot machines several years ago has ballooned
into a major convention covering every aspect of the business, from restaurants and
architecture to financing and legal compliance.

"The industry worldwide realizes that this is the show to come to," said Judy Patterson,
executive director of the American Gaming Association, the country's premier trade
group for commercial casinos.

The AGA organizes the event with Reed Exhibitions. The show runs through Thursday.

About 27,500 people are expected to attend Global Gaming Expo, now in its fifth year.
That's about 10 percent higher than a year ago, a growth rate that put the show in
Tradeshow Week's top 50 fastest-growing events nationwide.

More than 700 vendors from 107 countries will display their wares, and attendees will sit
in on some 172 conference sessions, 23 percent more than a year ago.

As the industry grows globally, international attendance has soared, organizers say.
About 20 percent of the trade show floor is represented by non-U.S. companies -- a 32
percent increase from 2004.

New this year are special exhibit areas on managing air quality and smoking in casinos,
emerging technologies and nongaming amenities -- which are now making more money
for some Strip casinos than gambling and are a growing part of smaller casinos

For the increasing number of casinos and operators that are newer to the business, the
Global Gaming Expo is an opportunity to scout out Las Vegas casinos and see the latest

For Las Vegas operators, which have regular meetings with slot makers and have easier
access to new technology than some of their peers who are farther afield, it's a
networking opportunity and an overview of what's available under one roof.

For the more than 200 reporters and other media registered to attend, it's a rare moment to
get acquainted with an insular industry that will throw off its veil of mystique, if only for
four days, and offer a closer look at how slot machines are made and casinos are
For some attendees, it's an opportunity to strike deals.

AGA members say the show is an "important part of their decision-making," Patterson

"I don't think you'd see the growth in the number of exhibitors and growth in registration
numbers (otherwise)," she said. "Each year the growth exceeds our expectations."

Some celebrities will be on hand to introduce slot machines bearing their likenesses,
including actress Morgan Fairchild, artist Gene Simmons and comedian George Lopez.
Celebrity speakers include CNN's Larry King, former Cirque du Soleil Producer Franco
Dragone and entertainers Clint Holmes, Rita Rudner and Wayne Newton.

While hundreds of slot machines will be on display, some slot makers say they are more
focused on showing games that can actually be purchased in the coming months rather
than slots with a release date of a year or more or whizbang prototypes that might never
make it into casinos.

"Operators have asked us to concentrate on things they can buy now," said Ed Rogich,
vice president of marketing for International Game Technology. "Instead of previewing a
couple of years out, 90 percent of our product (will be released) in the next three to six

Games face their true test on the casino floor rather than at Global Gaming Expo, he said.

At Station Casinos properties, about 30 to 40 percent of the company's slot machines are
replaced or otherwise converted in a year, Roy said.

Operators say competition is better than ever among the slot makers now that they all
have some form of "cashless" machine that accepts tickets instead of coins.

Cashless machines with video displays have allowed manufacturers to introduce low-
denomination machines such as penny slots, which let gamblers play longer by betting a
penny or "credit" at a time.

"Everybody's on the penny bandwagon now," Roy said. "The market is more competitive
than it's been in years past because all the manufacturers have new product that's doing
well. As an operator, you have more leverage."

At Sam's Town, one of the largest off-Strip casinos in Las Vegas, Director of Operations
Andre Filosi is also on the lookout for new technology.

"Manufacturers are probably better able to explain (downloadable) gaming" than in years
past, he said. "But there are lots of regulatory approvals that need to happen and a lot of
steps that need to be taken first."
Like other operators, Filosi said he's a shrewd buyer of licensed, or branded, slots. They
are more expensive for operators because they require casinos to share their revenue with
the slot makers. That means they will only take up a relatively small percentage of slots
in the casino, regardless of how many catchy brands the slot makers introduce.

"Those are looked at closely to make sure they are top performers," Filosi said. We
believe there's a place on our floor for them."

While slot machines with pop culture brands will once again take the limelight at this
year's show, the major buzz will surround the innards of future slots.

So-called downloadable games, which are not yet approved by regulators in Nevada and
many other parts of the world, allow casinos to change out slot games from a central
computer server. Today, casinos update their games by changing each slot's computer
chip or by simply buying an entirely new game.

"We'll have the ability to take games and adjust to what people want to play, said Dan
Roy, senior vice president of operations for Station Casinos Inc. "We'll have a chance to
go into a tournament mode very quickly."

Alliance Gaming Corp. Chief Executive Richard Haddrill said the games will take a year
or two to be approved and accepted by customers.

It will likely be a slow process and will only be adopted on part of the casino floor to test
customers' reactions, he said.

After three or four years, downloadable games will become an important casino
management tool allowing operators to raise the denomination of machines and change
pay tables with the push of some buttons, Haddrill said. Game content also will improve,
he said.

"Video content has exploded and the shelf life is getting shorter," he said.

With the continued popularity of poker, new versions of table games and table
management systems -- which are still being tested at a handful of casinos -- will have a
bigger presence at this show.

The biggest game makers are using technology adopted by retail and other industries to
develop "intelligent tables" that can read chips and cards -- allowing pit bosses to track
exactly how much customers are betting, which cards are dealt and therefore, how
profitable their games are. Two major systems will be on display at the show -- tables
with "optical" readers and tables can read radio frequency identification (RFID) tags
embedded in chips and cards.

Shared By: