Dear President Pro Tempore Steinberg and Senator Wright:
The TRIBAL ALLIANCE OF SOVEREIGN INDIAN NATIONS (TASIN), an intergovernmental association of nine federally recognized tribal governments throughout Southern California, is strongly opposed to SB 1463 (Wright/Steinberg) as introduced on February 24, 2012.
As written, the bill is deeply flawed and undermines tribal sovereignty and the progress toward self-sufficiency that California tribal governments have achieved since voters overwhelmingly supported Indian gaming in 1998, 2000 and 2008. Our opposition to this bill is rooted in its fundamental disregard for the unique government-to-government relationship between the State and California’s tribal governments. Although there are differences of opinion among our member tribal governments and broader Indian Country as to how to proceed with Internetgaming, TASIN is united in its opposition to SB 1463, as written. California tribal governments have made considerable progress over the last decade.
In order to reach consensus, we believe enabling legislation must provide as much stability for the future as possible. Several provisions of your bill would, in the long run, have a significantly destabilizing impact on our brick and mortar businesses.
TASIN is also united in our deep concerns over the following key tenets of your bill:
• Sovereignty - Tribal sovereignty must always be respected, thus the requirement for a blanket waiver of tribal sovereign immunity, as proposed by your bill, is unacceptable. OP: Remember when TASINATTACKED the sovereignty of another member nation?
• Eligibility – Good public policy would limit a license for an Internet poker site to the entities and tribal governments presently authorized by federal and state law to offer poker games within their brick and mortar facilities. OP: SCREW anyone who wants into the business. WE want it!
• Scope of gaming – Expansion of games beyond poker after two years is not acceptable. A bill must be limited to poker-only. OP: Never mind that Masiel's tribe tried to circumvent the law by putting in more slot machines than were allowed, prior to expansion. They were Class II, but the looked like a duck and quacked like a duck..
• Exclusivity – Tribes insist that the State Legislature not violate voter-approved compacts and rights and that legislation not be a precursor to expanded gaming over the Internet. We have seen other segments of the California gaming industry seek to expand the scope of gaming in the State and are deeply concerned with the prospect of the expansion of gaming over the Internet going forward. OP: The tribes LIED when they said they would look out for their people. Gaming tribes have stripped THOUSANDS of their citizenship in order to steal the benefits for themselves.
• Fees – We believe the license fees and structure of enabling legislation must be equitable and rational in order for California’s brick and mortar gaming businesses to succeed. Modification of a license’s terms after three years does not provide the type of stability necessary to achieve the goals of authorization. OP: We don't want our fees to go up, even though we support raising the taxes of CALIFORNIA citizens.
Accordingly, TASIN is unable to support SB 1463 unless significantly amended to address our many concerns. We encourage the Legislature to continue to be deliberate and judicious about authorization of Internet gambling. We share your goal of ensuring that the outcome is beneficial for the State, Tribal Governments, and the people of California.
Very Truly Yours,
ANDREW MASIEL, SR. TASIN Vice Chairman
ROSEMARY MORILLO TASIN Treasurer
GERALD CLARK, JR.TASIN Secretary