Two years ago, tribes like Pechanga of Temecula promised that if we gave them more slots, they'd balance California's budget. How's that working out for us? Tribes aren't even using all the slots they are allowed. And we aren't getting anywhere NEAR THE FUNDS we were led to believe.
The recession is hitting CA tribal casinos, with 2008 win well below 2007 and 2009 looking even worse.
The LA TIMES has a story up.
"We have the same amount of people and they come in as frequently, but they are just spending less," said Mike Hiles, a tribal information officer for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, which operates a casino with 2,000 slot machines, 20 gaming tables and two restaurants in San Jacinto."
Violence at the Soboba Reservation could be keeping the bigger money players away too. Who wants to run the risk of being shot while at the casino? Now, learning that the tribal chair is an "alleged" tax cheat.....
After years of growth, the first major layoff at a California Indian casino came in August 2008 when the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula laid off 368 workers. Three months later, the Morongo Casino laid off 95 people because of the slumping economy. Despite an agreement negotiated with the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would allow California's tribes to operate 62,000 slot machines, the tribal casinos currently operate 58,000 machines.
Pechanga is the tribe that has treated their own people terribly, forcing many back into poverty and onto state health care and welfare rolls. They terminated 25% of their tribe so that those remaining could increase their take from gambling profits. Pechanga's workforce is down almost 800 from their high point. Customers may be responding to the bad publicity, if Pechanga would cheat their own, maybe they'd cheat customers too. Additionally, car jacking at the casino and thuggish behavior from tribal members would also play a part. Their nightclub Silk was closed due to alcohol related problems and tribal thugs. It's better to go to a different casino where there's no threat to safety.