Wyomingites for a Better Economy Today and Tomorrow
WyBETT   Wyomingites for a Better Economy Today and Tomorrow

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.


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 percent?”  The 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.


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.


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 supported it.


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.


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.