Tribes call gaming cash 'easy target'- Don't want to contribute portion of gambling profits to ease state's budget deficit

Associated Press
The Spokesman-Review


TACOMA, WA_ Several of Washington's Indian tribal leaders say Gov. Gary Locke should look elsewhere for revenue rather than ask tribes to contribute some of their gambling profits to ease the state's budget deficit.

Locke has said the state could follow the lead of other cash-strapped states by asking tribal gambling operations to share revenues.

"The state needs to tighten its belt," said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, which operates the Northern Lights Casino in Anacortes.

Tribal leaders gathered Tuesday at the Sheraton Tacoma Hotel for the third annual Northwest Indian Gaming Conference and Expo.

Cladoosby told The News Tribune that the 1988 federal law that paved the way for large-scale tribal gaming "wasn't created to bail out the states from their budget woes" but to help tribes become self-reliant.

With the state facing a budget deficit that could reach $3 billion, the estimated $515 million brought in last year by sanctioned tribal casinos "is an easy target," said W. Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S'Kallam Tribe.


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