Friday, June 8, 2007

Inland Empire residents leery of giving Pechanga more slots

Many Inland residents are leery of allowing more slot machines in nearby tribal casinos, a new poll shows, even as Gov. Schwarzenegger and area lawmakers are pushing deals that could turn this region into one of the world's largest gambling markets.

The survey, conducted for The Press-Enterprise, indicates that residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties are sharply divided on Indian gambling less than a decade after they overwhelmingly backed ballot measures to legalize it.

For months, nearly every legislator representing the region has solidly supported agreements, known as compacts, that would let four politically influential Inland tribes more than double or triple the number of slot machines they operate.

But the poll reveals that many of the region's residents do not share that enthusiasm for the deals, which await ratification by the Legislature. Two-thirds of residents want the number of tribal casino slot machines to either stay the same or go down, the poll found.

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