Sunday, February 22, 2009

Legalize Gambling Already. Glendale aims to build a casino in the stadium district

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by congress in 1988, allowing casinos to be built on Indian Reservations.  During the first year about $100 million was generated nation-wide from casino operations.  By 2004, that number had ballooned to $19.4 Billion, spread across the 224 tribes operating casinos.  And with money comes greed.

Glendale aims to build a casino in the stadium district

Somewhere along the way, as will ALWAYS happen, the money got big enough to change the perspective.  States and cities have realized that more gambling revenue translates into more taxes collected.  In addition, luxurious resorts on (and near) reservation land can act as a tourism draw.  (think Las Vegas on this one.)

Over the last several years we've watched as the casinos have grown larger, offering more amenities and luxury.  We've watched cities grow closer to the casinos, building (or encouraging the development of) resorts and other amenities, while using the casinos as a draw.

Today the City of Glendale is in the process of crossing the line by using a legal loophole to create a casino within the city's limits, right in the middle of the stadium district.  Here's a watered down version of the basics:

  • The Tohono O'odham Nation has a reservation which falls mostly along the Mexico-Arizona border.

  • The City of Glendale wants to get 134 Acres at 91st & Northern classified as "land in trust," a requirement for a casino to be built upon non-reservation land.

  • The Tohono O'odham tribe would then be allowed to build a large spa resort and casino on this parcel of land, which also happens to be within a mile of the University of Phoenix stadium and all the other development already underway.

Now, I'm personally not against gambling.  I enjoy a weekend in Vegas as much as the next guy.  However, I'm against - to the point it drives me crazy - deceit, loopholes, and talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Glendale (and other cities), if you want everything gambling has to offer - revenue, jobs, and tourism (along with addiction and other vices), please just come out and say it.  Legalize gambling.  Stop hiding behind the Native Americans and the IGRA of 1988.

Your disgusted with Glendale on this one Realtor,

Chris Butterworth