SHOWS CASINOS SLIDE IN POPULARITY
Articles appeared in the Albuquerque Journal
titled, “Gaming Proposal Opposed on Thursday, March 23, 2000,
and “Nontribal Gambling Opposed” on Friday, March 24.
These headlines refer to polls taken by Brian Sanderoff’s
Research and Polling, Inc., wherein over 400 voters were asked for
their reaction to the recently proposed Tribal Gaming Compacts.
These compacts are likely to be voted on by the legislature
in the special session beginning on March 28, 2000.
REDUCTION OF REVENUE SHARING:
The Sanderoff poll asked the voters,
“According to the existing agreements between the Indian tribes
and the state government, the Indian casinos are required to pay
16 percent of their slot machine profits to state government.
The Indian tribes argue this amount is too high and have
proposed in the Legislature that it be cut to 7.5 percent.
Some legislators oppose this reduction.
Do you support or oppose reducing the revenue sharing
between the tribes and state government from 16 percent to 7.5
Journal reports, “Fifty-six percent of the voters surveyed
said they opposed that reduction.
Thirty percent said they supported the reduction…” Almost
twice as many of those polled were opposed to that feature of the
new compacts as those who supported it.
CASINO FINANCIAL RECORDS: OPEN OR SECRET?
The State Legislature has consistently tried
to pass legislation to get the tribal casinos to open their
financial records to public scrutiny, excepting those that contain
proprietary secrets. The new compacts forbid the release of almost
all casino financial documents to the public or press scrutiny.
The Journal states, “Eighty-one percent of voters polled
supported making tribal casino financial records and audits
available to the public.
Twelve percent said the records should be private and that
only state regulators should be allowed to view them.”
Honesty and openness seem to be too high a price to pay for
a virtual monopoly of casino gambling.
GAMBLING EXPANSION OFF THE RESERVATION:
The new compacts provide for an additional
200 slot machines to be installed in the racetracks around the
state. The Journal reports, “Sixty-four percent of the voters
polled opposed increasing the number of casinos in New Mexico by
allowing additional non-Indian casinos.
Twenty-three percent supported additional non-Indian
casinos, and 7 percent had mixed feelings on the issue.
Six percent did not know or would not say.” Almost
three times as many voters opposed slot machine expansion as
PERSONAL OBSERVATION OF CASINO DAMAGE
The poll asked, “Do you know anyone in New
Mexico whose gambling has caused family or financial problems?” Brian Sanderoff reported,
“Three in 10 registered voters know someone who has
had financial or family problems brought about by gambling.
That’s a sizable number” This is sort of the
“Misery Quotient” of gambling, and as that number climbs,
casinos will become seen more and more as the parasites that they
are, and the politicians who support them, especially for
political or economic gain, will be viewed by many of their
constituents as enemies of the people.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OR ECONOMIC INJURY
The voters were polled to determine what sort
of economic impact tribal casinos had on the New Mexico economy. “Forty-four percent of registered voters surveyed…said
tribal casinos have had a negative economic impact on the state.
But 38 percent said the tribal casinos have been a plus for
the state’s economy. Ten percent had mixed feelings, and another 8 percent did not
know or would not say.”
According to the Journal poll, Democrats and
Republicans had very similar views on the negative impact of the
new compacts. It
appears that all politicians in the State have an equal
opportunity of upsetting their constituents before the primary and
general elections of November, 2000 if they vote to manacle the
constituents to the parasitic influence of longer tribal compacts.