Central Valley Area Cities & Community Leaders Publicly Oppose Eligible Tribal Gaming Initiative on Nov. Election Ballot
Central Valley Poised to Lose Over One Million in Tax Revenue for Local Programs & Services; California Communities May Lose $5.5B in Economic Activity and $500M in Tax Revenue
Fresno, Calif. (June 16, 2023) – Central Valley elected officials and community leaders today exposed the detrimental local impacts of the eligible tribal gaming initiative that, if passed, threatens the future of community programs throughout the Central Valley region.
Luis Chavez, Councilmember for the City of Fresno; Michael Karbassi, Councilmember for the City of Fresno; Amy Shuklian, Supervisor for the County of Tulare; Pete Vander Poel, Supervisor for the County of Tulare; Vong Mouanoutoua, Councilmember for the City of Clovis; Clint Oliver, CEO for the Central Valley Business Federation; and the California Hmong Chamber of Commerce called on Central Valley voters to reject the measure in the November election – citing that the Central Valley region stands to lose over one million in tax revenue for local programs and services if the eligible tribal gaming initiative becomes law. According to the local elected officials and community leaders, the measure’s passage would significantly limit local government’s ability to fund public health, homelessness services, senior programs, after-school programs, and a myriad of vital public services.
The initiative proposes to amend the State Constitution to guarantee tribal casinos a near-monopoly on all gaming in California – adding exclusivity over roulette, craps and sports wagering to their current monopoly on slot machines — while weaponizing the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) so it can be used against tribal casino operators’ legally-operating competition. Specifically, this change in the State Constitution allows tribal casinos to hire private trial lawyers and replace the role of the Attorney General to sue their non-tribal competitors. As a result, the measure puts more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at risk. Cities rely on this revenue for resident services such as public safety, housing and homeless programs.
“At the end of the day, the Central Valley needs government policies and initiatives that make it easier for Californians to live and work by creating jobs and economic opportunity. The eligible tribal gaming initiative does the opposite by threatening to take away over one million in tax revenue for local programs and services – and good jobs at cardrooms like those offered at the Club One Casino. The Central Valley is already struggling and we need to be doing more to enhance our region, not taking resources away.”
-Luis Chavez, Councilmember for the City of Fresno
“The qualified tribal gaming initiative will have a devastating impact on the Central Valley – allowing for limitless lawsuits against cardrooms and even customers in the cardroom to close them down. The Club One Card Room has been a strong community partner in Fresno by not only providing good paying jobs and economic opportunity, but also supporting local nonprofit organizations throughout the region. The eligible tribal gaming initiative take direct aim at cardrooms, such as the Club One Card Room – severely harming our community unfairly as we rely on their good paying jobs and economic opportunity, including the revenues generated to support programs and services such as homeless, housing, senior centers and nonprofit organizations.”
-Mike Karbassi, Councilmember for the City of Fresno
“There are several proposed ballot initiatives to legalize sports wagering in California, but only one – the eligible tribal gaming measure – that takes direct aim to eliminate jobs in Tulare County. This initiative would open the floodgates for lawsuit abuse, which would spell the end of days for cardrooms and the jobs they create in our community. It’s why I’m asking on behalf of Central Valley residents that California voters vote no on the eligible gaming initiative that is a direct threat to cities – small and large – throughout the Golden State.”
-Amy Shuklian, a Supervisor for the County of Tulare
“The qualified tribal gaming measure would be a disaster for the Central Valley and Tulare County – threatening to eliminate jobs in our community at a time when they are needed most. There are better ways for the state to legalize sports betting without directly harming our residents. California voters must pay close attention to the fine print of this initiative, so they know exactly what the qualified tribal gaming initiative will do by eliminating jobs and stifling economic opportunity in a region of the state that needs it most.”
-Peter Vander Poel, Supervisor for the County of Tulare
“This initiative does nothing more than encourage abusive litigation that hurts locally owned and operated businesses, widens California’s opportunity gap, and threatens much-needed tax revenues. California’s Central Valley is already reeling from skyrocketing gas prices, inflation, housing costs and poverty and the eligible tribal gaming initiative will only make it worse.”
-Vong Mouanoutoua, Councilmember for the City of Clovis