Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz/Department of Anthropology
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8 October 1998(1)

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I. INTRODUCTION: Why Proposition 5

I. INTRODUCTION: Why Proposition 5

Nothing exists in a vacuum or without earlier events and at least four events of the past decades have contributed to the presence of Proposition 5 on the California ballet next month. Incidentally, I will make a "prediction" (some three-and-one-half weeks away from the November 3 election) that Proposition will pass (60/40?) and it will be immediately challenged in the courts as being unconstitutional. We shall see how my prediction holds up!

Proposition 5 (which is a proposed law: "State-Tribal Agreements Governing Indian Gaming" and may also be cited as "The Tribal Government Gaming And Economic Self-Sufficiency Act of 1998), is given in the California Voter Information Guide for the General Election of November 3, 1998, and one may read that "This measure requires the state to enter into a specific compact allowing certain Class III gambling activities on Indian lands for those tribes that agree to sign the agreement. For more information, please see the Guide, as well as, which has the following:

"The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure: TRIBAL-STATE GAMING COMPACTS. TRIBAL CASINOS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Specifies terms and conditions of mandatory compact between state and Indian tribes for gambling on tribal land. Mandates Governor to sign compact upon request by tribe. Permits alternative compacts only if consistent with prescribed compact. Permits gambling devices and lotteries at tribal casinos. Amends California law to allow slot machines and banked card games at tribal casinos. Provides for contributions to trust funds benefiting nongaming tribes, statewide emergency medical care programs, and programs benefiting communities near tribes, if tribes retain monopoly on authorized gambling. Provides for reimbursement of state regulatory costs. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: This measure would probably have a limited effect on the state and local revenues in the near term. It would also have a potential longer-term significant positive impact to the extent there is a large diversion of gambling activity from other states to California.It would also result in additional revenues to state and local governments from the trust funds called for under the compact -- potentially in the tens of millions of dollars annually."

"Gambling" (or "gaming" as it is euphemistically termed by some) has accelerated in the United States of America as a result of: (#1) lotteries which became acceptable in the United States in 1964; (#2) the entrance of the Holiday Inn Corporation into the gaming industry in 1978; (#3) the 1988 passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by the Congress of the United States; (#4) and human nature.

"The boom in tribal gambling began in the mid-1970s, when tribes in Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and California operated relatively modest, low-stakes bingo halls on their reservations. Encouraged by the Reagan administration, which hoped gambling would reduced tribal dependence on Washington, these tribes had expanded their gambling enterprises significantly by the end of the decade" (Robert Goodman, 1995, The Luck Business: The Devastating Consequences and Broken Promises of America's Gambling Explosion, page 111).

Tribal gambling accelerated in the 1980s. Prior to 1988, federally recognized Native American tribes and individual States had the authority to enter into various agreements concerning taxes as well as tribal social services. It was the United States Supreme Court decision in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians (begun in 1986 and eventually decided in favor of the Cabazon in 1987) that resulted in the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988. It has been pointed out that "the primary issue in Cabazon was whether the State of California had authority to enforce its gambling laws within the reservation occupied by the Cabazon Indians" (N. McKay, 1991/92, "The Meaning of Good Faith In The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act." Gonzaga Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 471-486, page 472) and the resulting court decision on the Cabazon "allowed unregulated gambling to flourish on Indian reservations" (Joseph J. Weissmann, 1993, "Upping The Ante: Allowing Indian Tribes To Sue States In Federal Court Under The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act." The George Washington Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 1, pages 123-161. page 124)

Proposition 5 has both advocates and adversaries and "sources estimate that the two coalitions will spend a combined $50 million to $60 million to spin California voters" next month (Jon Ralston "Nevada Politics" in the Reno Gazette-Journal, July 20, 1998, page 1B). Proposition 5 comes on the heels of a "compact" that was signed by Governor Wilson, California, and eleven California native American tribes in August 1998:

"Capping a two-year political struggle, Gov. Pete Wilson on Friday signed legislation ratifying agreement with 11 Indian tribes to allow video slot machines on their reservations. ... The compacts allow each tribe to operate a specified number of video slot machines...and allow tribes in remote areas to sell their rights to operate machines to other tribes." (Anon., 1998, "Wilson Signs Indian Gambling Bill." Reno Gazette-Journal, August 29, 1998, page 10A)

"A Los Angeles-based gambling expert says the deal will allow California tribes to operate Navda-style casinos," but should proposition 5 be passed by the voters of California in November 1998, new compacts will be negotiated and the July 1998 agreement could be a moot point.

"Months after becoming the first tribe to sign a state gaming contract, Pala Indians have approved plans for a 64,000 square-foot casino that could open within a year. ... 'We have estimated that a casino here could bring in revenues of between $500,000 to $750,000 a month,' he [Stan McGarr, tribal secretary]. 'We're projecting it will create between 400 to 600 jobs.' The Pala tribe have about 867 members on the San Diego County reservation. ... In March [1998], the Palas became the first tribe to reach an agreement with Gov. Pete Wilson over reservation gambling. ... Tribes across the state said the governor's insistence on the deal threatens their sovereignty and their livelihood, and only 10 of California's 39 gaming tribes have signed similar agreements. Many are hoping for the passage of Proposition 5 in November [1998], which would legalize the video slots and make the compacts moot." (Anon., 1998, "Pala Indians Set To Build 64,000-Square-Foot Casino." Chico Enterprise-Record, September 13, 1998, page 4A)

On August 1, 1998, it was reported that the sponsors of Proposition 5 had spent some $12,800,000 in 1998 in support of the Proposition while the opponents ("The Coalition Against Unregulated Gambling") had expended $1,200,000 from January 1 to June 30, 1998 (Jake Henshaw, "Nevada Casinos Bankrolling Fight Against Indian Gaming" in the Reno Gazette-Journal, August 1, 1998, page 1). These numbers, however, don't jibe with a report on August 3rd, 1998, that the "Coalition Against" "didn't dispute an estimate that it is [now] spending $500,000 a week on its ads" (Michelle DeArmond, "Casinos Oppose Indian Gambling" in Enterprise-Record, August 3, 1998, page 3A). With 3 1/2 weeks to the November election, be prepared for a DELUGE of advertising from both sides; as a September 4, 1998, article pointed out: "Nevada casinos, facing what they say is up to $600 million annually in lost market share, are spending millions to defeat it" (Tony Batt, "Expert: Slots Will Creep Off Reservations If Prop. 5 Passes" in the Enterprise-Record, September 4, 1998, page 4A).


In 1931, Nevada authorized "legalized gambling" and it wasn't until 1978 that New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City. After 1978, gambling in America accelerated at an incredible pace. If you wish, you can legally gamble (or be "entertained") in 48 of the 50 United States of America and only Hawai'i and Utah are free of legal gambling activities. In the elections of next month, Hawai'i will be voting on "limited gaming" within the state and the voters of California will be making a decision on Proposition 5. For the "pros" and "cons" of Proposition 5, please go to (California For Indian Self-Reliance) and (Coalition on Unregulated Gambling). Gambling (or gaming) is big business: the "Gross gambling revenue" (an industry term) for 1997 was approximately $50,893,300,000 for an industry-wide "win" of slightly more than $139,433,698 a day. In a fifty-minute presentation, roughly speaking, $4,841,447 will have been "won" by the gambling industry in this country (and "lost" by consumers), or some $96,828/minute! Incidentally, the entire operating budget of this institution, California State University, Chico, for the 1998-1999 fiscal year has been given as $123,686,629: comparing this to the "gaming" industry "win" of of almost $97,000 per minute, this means that in 1,277 minutes (or some 21 hours) this "entertainment" industry has won enough to pay for the entire year-long operation of CSU, Chico!

"Gross gambling revenue (GGR): Handle less payouts or prizes or winnings returned to players. From the operator's point of view, gross revenue is money extracted from players collectively and transferred to the operator(s) of a commercial game; GGR is thus the source of gambling industry revenues and government gambling tax receipts. From the consumer's point of view, gross gambling revenue is the consumer price of playing a commercial game [stress added]." (Eugene M. Christiansen, 1998, "A New Entitlement." International Gaming & Wagering Business, August 1998, pages 3-35, page 5.)


Indian Nation Casino activities have been called the "new Buffalo" and the small Indian Nation casino is virtually a thing of the past and the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere (if not the world) is located on the tribal lands of the Mashantucket Pequot in Connecticut. Corporations, building on their strengths, are affiliating themselves, for example, with Native American casinos in Arizona (Ak-Chin Indian Community), Alabama (Poarch Band of Creek Indians), Washington State (Upper Skagit Indian Tribe), as well as California (Pala Band of Mission Indians), and the Cherokee of North Carolina. The "visibility" (and the competition) within the industry should be obvious to all: from the bombarding messages of state-lotteries, to the megaresorts being developed in Nevada (and Mississippi), there is growth and demand for the consumer dollar (or the redistribution of resources or money (and for the Cherokee, see Coalition-forming is key to understanding Proposition 5 and it is very difficult, at time, to determine who the players are: some in the industry are for Prop 5 in California (manufacturers) and some are against Prop 5.

Not all Native American gaming situations, however, have been success stories; in August 1997 the Lummi Nation Casino, located in the American State of Washington (just south of the Canadian border and the major metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), was forced to close and 238 people lost their jobs, clearly demonstrating that not every single Native American casino can succeed. The casino was successful until Canadian "entertainment" (gambling) rules were changed and the Lummi's lost out. Indeed, in the publication entitled Indian Gaming (April/May 1998), while not specifically naming the Lummi Nation Casino, the following was reported: "In Washington, one of the 12 tribal casinos approved by the state was forced to close last summer and at least three more have stopped making required community-impact contribution" and for the American State of New Mexico it was reported that "Tribal leaders at Taos Pueblo say their gaming operation is in 'dismal financial condition' and it can afford to pay only $4,516 of the $169,000 it owes to the state" (Anon., Indian Gaming, 1998: 22; and see The same information also appeared in the March 1998 issue of the Pequot Times, page 10. In June of 1998 Harrah's Skagit Valley Casino (owned by the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe), located 15 miles south of Bellingham, had to lay off approximately 5 percent of the more than 700 individuals employed at the casino because of changes in Canadian gaming rules and the economic crisis in Asia. Recently, one could read the following: "For Some Indian Tribes, Casinos Are A Bad Bargain" by Matt Kelley (Chico Enteprise-Record, October 4, 1998, page 7A), and the problems of the Hualapai Indian Tribe of Arizona, the Kaibab-Paiute Tribe on the Arizona-Utah border, the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe of Washington State, as well as the South Dakota Oglala Sioux tribe. A United States Bureau of Indian Affairs spokesman was quoted: "There's about five tribes that have done very well, but there's 554 tribes in the country."

Native American casinos in Washington State will not be the only ones affected by changes in Canadian gaming: in June of 1998 it was also reported that:

"The Reno-Sparks area [of Nevada] has seen its share of Canadian visitors dwindle in recent years and could sustain more losses when gaming destination casinos begin operating in British Columbia next year....As Canadians who like Reno age and travel less, however, Reno needs to attract the younger customers who tend to prefer the glitter of Las Vegas....Szony [the Chief Executive of The Sands Regency Hotel Casino in Reno] expects the B[ritish] C[olumbia] casinos to have a chiseling effect on Reno similar to that felt from Indian casinos and California card clubs." (John Stearns, 1998, "Canadian Casinos May Cut Tourism." Reno Gazette-Journal, June 16, page 1E and 3E.)

There is competition in the industry and not all are successful; this point made by some who follow Native American gaming very closely:

"Some Indian casinos and high-stakes bingo halls are wildly successful and earn millions of dollars each year for their respective tribes. They acquire enough to pay dividends to tribal members, finance social programs, establish new business ventures, and even donate money to political parties. However, that level of success is not universal and it may not even apply to most tribes. In 1993 just 10 tribes earned more than half of the gross gaming revenues attributed to Indian gaming (Reeves, 1994)." (J.A. Davis and S.M. Otterstrom, 1998, "Growth of Indian Gaming In The United States." In Casino Gambling in America: Origins, Trends, And Impacts (edited by Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt and Rudi Hartmann), pages 53-66. page 61).

Should Proposition 5, however, pass, next month, the scenario for some industry players could be dramatic:

"...Nevada's gambling expected to sustain significant losses if Indian casinos were allowed to expand. One recent estimate shows northern Nevada losing 15 percent of its casino business to California tribes if a ballot initiative passes in November. ... A recent report by Bear Stearns analysts predicted casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin would lost $260 million to $300 million--a hit of about 7 percent--in the first years that wide-open Indian gambling his California. Casinos in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area would fare even worse, losing 15 percent of their business--$110 million to $130 million--to California Indian casinos [stress added]." (Reno Gazette-Journal August 18, 1998, page A1 and 6A).

An influential trade journal (International Gaming & Wagering Business) pointed out the following in August 1998:

"California contributes about 35% of Nevada casinos visitors and at least $1.5 billion of the state's $7.6 billion 1997 GGR [Gross Gaming Revenue]. Suppose the Indian initiative passes, survives the inevitable legal challenges, and encounters no meaningful opposition in Congress or the Interior Department. A large new California machine market would thereby be created. Every device manufacturer on the planet would rush to supply it. California has 106 federally recognized tribes all over the State, including southern California. Casinos would blossom like flowers in the spring. Racetracks and card rooms, and California's lottery, would ask for and very possibly get the right to offer equivalent games. At least one-third, and perhaps two-thirds, of the $1.5 billion Californians currently leave in Nevada casinos would stay in California." (Eugene Martin Christiansen, 1998, "A New Entitlement" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, August 1998, pages 3-35, page 26)

Nowhere is the success of "Native American Gaming" more visible in this country than in the State of Connecticut. All but extinct by the 1970s (the Pequot were virtually annihilated in 1637 by the settlers in the area), in 1998 the Mashantucket Pequot have the largest gaming facility in the Western Hemisphere and in August 1998 the tribe opened the Mashantucket Pequot Museum: a $135,000,000 facility (Amy Gamerman, "Pequot Museum: It Makes A Village" in The Wall Street Journal, September 2, 1998, page A16). Foxwoods casino, roughly adjacent to the Museum, has approximately 300,000 square feet of "gaming" space; the next largest facility in the United States is the Las Vegas MGM Grand (175,000 square feet) and the relatively "local" facilities of the Reno Hilton (100,000 Square feet), or Harvey at Lake Tahoe (91,000 square feet). Incidentally, one acre is 43,560 square feet in size and an American football field is 57,600 square feet: Foxwoods is big! For the sixth year anniversary of Foxwoods (expanded to approximately 300,000 square feet of gaming space, or 27,870 square meters), the casino was "giving away" $10,000 a day for 60 days and on an American holiday like the 4th of July, Foxwoods attracts approximately 250,000 visitors! This is clearly big business and something which other Native American casinos hope to duplicate. As Business Week pointed out in July 1997:

"One of the biggest hotels in the U.S. now rises in the eastern Connecticut woods near Ledyard. Pequot Towers, a $350 million hotel/convention center/casino, which opened on July 3 [1997], is a striking symbol of the Mashantucket Pequot's phenomenal success since entering the gambling business with the Foxwoods Resort Casino in 1992." (Anon., 1997, "Can The Pequots Stay On A Roll?" Business Week, July 21, page 38).

Later in 1997, Brigitte Greenberg, of the Associated Press, reported the following:

"With the casino making more than $1 million a day even during slow periods, the Mashantucket Pequots are using their economic muscle to reach well beyond their 1,238-acre [12.38 hectare] reservation in southeastern Connecticut to create a major tourist center. ... Though the tribe will not divulge its profits, it does report its [5,540] slot machine take to the state, which keeps 25 percent under an agreement struck in 1993. With slot revenues topping $2 billion since then, the states share has exceeded $550 million." (Brigitte Greenberg, 1997, "Connecticut Indians Win Big At Gambling." The San Francisco Chronicle, November 18, page A7)

More recently, for the month of July 1998, the following was reported for the state of Connecticut:

"Foxwoods Resort Casino reported slot revenues of $65.2 million for July, the largest monthly win for the casino since July 1996. ... The state of Connecticut was also a winner, picking up $16.3 million for distribution to cities and towns as part of a revenue sharing agreement made with Foxwoods in 1993." (Bob Delisle, "New England News." Card Player, October 2, 1998, page 72)

Native American gaming interests in the northeastern part of the United States are still planning on further expansion: the Narrangansett Tribe of Rhode Island is looking to creating a casino in Providence, Rhode Island, and the eastern Pequots of Connecticut are attempting to get federal approval of their tribal status and are planning a casino close to the Mashantucket Pequot Foxwoods Casino! There could be some interesting (unanticipated?) problems:

"However, a problem that may develop for the latest casino operator in the region is a lack of qualified employees. A local contractor put it this way: 'Anyone who really wants to work is working, period. The rest just don't want to work.' With a robust economy and unemployment at all-time lows in New England, both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are competing for employees, and both have positions that go unfilled. Foxwoods has gone so far as to hold job fairs as far off as Providence, Rhode Island, to the north and New Haven, Connecticut,, to the west. If and when the Eastern Pequots open, it will be interesting to see how they will staff their planned casino." (Bob Delisle, 1998, "New England News." Card Player, July 10, 1998, pages 60-61)

The Foxwoods Resort Casino opened in 1992 and it was a success; in 1996, the Mohegan Sun Casino opened a few miles away in Uncasville, Connecticut, and more successes flowed! To place the dollar amounts from the American state of Connecticut into some perspective, please consider the following:

"By our estimation, the two [Connecticut] casinos generated nearly $1.5 billion dollars in revenue for 1997. By way of comparison, that is roughly 38% of what the twelve Atlantic City [New Jersey] posted in casino revenues in 1997" [stress added]." (Sebastian Sinclair, 1998, "Go-Go Times Roll On For Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun." Indian Gaming Business: A Quarterly Supplement to international Gaming & Wagering Business, May, pages 8-9, page 8)

Fragmentation, however, appears within the ranks of Native Americans: the Governor of California "signed" an agreement with certain tribes (which other tribes rejected); in Connecticut, we have seen the Mohegan Sun Casino get established and on August 10, 1998 it was reported that in Connecticut the Southern Pequots are also seeking federal recognition:

"The Southern Pequots have become the latest group of American Indians seeking federal recognition as a sovereign nation. The tribe has 123 members. The state has two federally recognized nations, the Mashantucket Pequots, which owns Foxwoods Resort Casino, and the Mohegans, who own the Mohegan Sun Casino. The Schaghticokes, Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, Eastern Pequots, Mohegan Tribe and Nation Inc., and the Nehantics are also seeking federal recognition." (Anon., 1998, USA Today, August 10, 1998, page 10A)

As sovereign nations, Native American tribes can decide on which way to go concerning gaming. While Native Americans in Connecticut have clearly embraced gaming (as well as tribes in other states), in November 1997 "members of the Navajo Nation...voted down a proposal to make America's largest Indian tribe the latest entry" into Native American gaming (Anon., November 5, 1997, page 7A). Incidentally, the Mashantucket Pequot have diversified and expanded their activities beyond the casino industry into lodging and transportation and in August of this year a magnificent "Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center" opened ( which I hope to visit one day.

In 1993 the Sheraton Corporation expressed an interest in gaming in Hawai'i and Richard Hartman, President of the North American Division of Sheraton was quoted as saying: "If and when gaming is legalized in Hawaii, Sheraton wants to be in a strong position to move to the forefront" ( Rodrigo, C., 1993, "Sheraton Enters Gaming Industry." Pacific Business News (Honolulu), May 17, page 2). On February 24, 1998, House Bill 2229 was introduced for a statewide on legalized gambling in Hawai'i ( The League of Women Voters in Hawai'i has come out against the initiative but they have pointed out "that under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, if the State were to approve any form of gambling, it would open up Hawaii to Native American or Hawaiian Sovereignty casinos [stress added]." (Susan Durstin, 1997, Should Hawaii Legalize Gambling? Facts And Issues; A Study By The League Of Women Voters of Hawaii (please see

In California, if Proposition 5 passes next month, and it appears it will, a "doom-and-gloom" scenario is proposed by some individuals for both this state and Nevada:

"'If the initiative passes, it would be devastating for Nevada,' said Whittier Law School Professor I. Nelson Rose. 'Since there would be no restrictions on gaming, and there are over 100 pieces of federally recognized Indian land in the state, and a tribe with enough land and enough customers could put up dozens of casinos.'" (Cited by Matt Connor, 1998, "Nevada's Bad California Dream" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, July 1998, page 1, pages 26-31, page 26).

Indeed, Connor began his most perceptive 1998 article with the following:

"Imagine a California with 40 or more Foxwood-sized gaming facilities, many lining the thoroughfares leading from Southern California to the Nevada border, each aggressively wooing the millions of customers from the population centers of Anaheim and San Diego to the gambling meccas of Las Vegas, Reno, Stateline, and Laughlin. That's the doomsday prediction of some gaming observers watching the action in California.... [stress added]" (Matt Connor, 1998, "Nevada's Bad California Dream" in International Gaming & Wagering Business, July 1998, page 1, pages 26-31, page 1 and 26).

Last month, Steve Wynn (the Chairman of Mirage Resorts Inc. and owner of some of the largest properties in Las Vegas, namely the 3,049 room Mirage, the 2,900 room Treasure Island, and the 3,000 room Bellagio, scheduled to open on October 15, 1998) ) visited Reno and talked about his $1,600,000,000 Bellagio Hotel Casino. While he doesn't think Proposition 5 will pass in California, the following is still interesting:

"Mirage Resorts Inc. Chairman Steve Wynn didn't want to taint his visit to Reno last week with moribund thoughts, but if a California Indian gaming initiative passes in November, Nevada casinos could take a serious hit. And in the north, which gets half its visitors from California, the threat is even chillier, he said. 'They don't get scared enough,' he said of northern casino owners whose contribution to fight Proposition 5 amounts to what he called 'pennies.'" (John Stearns, "Steve Wynn Emphasizes Threat Northern Nevada Faces From Proposition 5." Reno Gazette-Journal, September 27, page 1E)

"Pennies" indeed consider that, once again, that Americans lost some $96,828/minute in 1997!


I would like to begin ending with a quote from the anthropologist Gregory Bateson:

"The unit of survival [or adaptation] is organism plus environment. We are learning by bitter experience that the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself." (Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, 1972: 483)

The "environment" of California is changing as I type this and as you read this and what will the future bring all of us? Proposition 5 will pass (I predict) but I, and others also predict that there will be legal challenges to the initiative; but that is the nature (or culture!) of the democratic process. I must make my decision and so must you and there are various opinion about Proposition 5; and just as there is "variation" in any given population, so is there variation between Native American Tribes:

"The [United States] Senate is prodding wealthy Indian tribes to give up federal funding in return for promises that aid would be restored if the gambling industry turns sour. As many as a dozen tribes may return their money, Ron Allen, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said Wednesday [September 9, 1998]. The money is to be redistributed to poor reservations, but the wealthy tribes are small and often receive less than $1 million each. ... The Bureau of Indian Affairs currently distributes federal aid through an arcane system that provides wealthier tribes with far more money in proportion to their population that poorer tribes. The disparities have been growing. One identified tribe that made $300 million last year still received $350,000 in federal aid, according to a recent study by the General Accounting Office. ... The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux make so much money from a suburban Minneapolis casino that it gives an estimated $600,000 a year to each of its members. The tribe uses its federal aid to provide welfare and other assistance to Indians on its reservation who aren't members of the tribe and hasn't decided whether to return the money, said Willie Hardacker, its legal counsel." (Anon., 1998, "Senate Wants Wealthy Tribes To Give Up Federal Funding." Chico Enterprise-Record, September 10, 1998, page 1D)

There are those tribes in California that support Proposition 5 and those that are against it. One tribe which entered into a "compact" with the State of California in July 1998 (The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians), allowing faming on their reservation, is supportive of Proposition 5 (even though it would replace the compact they have already agreed upon). Anthony Pico, Chairman of the Viejas Board, is quoted as follows;

"'We are willing to ratify the proposed [July 1998] compact, but we believe that the only way the Viejas Band will get a fair agreement that respects our government, our integrity, and gives us credit for being good citizens and good business people, will be from the voters in November. Proposition 5 gives the people of California the opportunity to approve a tribal-state compact that is mutually beneficial to all the citizens of the state.' According to Pico, the November ballot measure, which is supported by 79 California tribes, removes the politics and neutralizes Nevada-based special interests, and attempts to divide the tribes that have stalled a final resolution over the legality of the game for eight years. The ballot initiative delineates the terms of gaming, outlines the limits of state regulation, and providfes for the sharing of millions of dollars of casino profits with local governments, statewide emergency ambulance services, funds for economic development on reservations not involved in gaming, and gambling addiction programs. If passed by the voters, the California Indian Self-Reliance Act would supersede any previous compacts or conditions [stress added]." (Nikki Symington, 1998, "Viejas Band Acts On Class III Video Gaming Accord." Indian Gaming, August 1998, pages 26-27, page 27)

The most recent figures on campaign spending for the November 3 election reveal that some $60,000,000 has been spent by both sides in the Proposition 5 "debate" over Tribal Government Gaming in California (see the Sacramento Bee, October 6, 1998, page A3 and the Chico Enterprise-Record, October 7, 1998, page 5A). Undoubtedly, in the next few weeks, we will be bombarded in the media: the choice is (y)ours! Read the California Voter Information Guide for the General Election of November 3, 1998 (pages 20-23 and pages 86-97) and form your own opinions about Proposition 5 (and the numerous other election issues): vote!

My personal ethnographic research has convinced me not to gamble excessively since I have had sufficient "entertainment" at the hands of corporate America. The gambling/gaming entertainment industry is a changing one and gambling itself is exciting and people wish to be excited and perhaps win! Various individuals have studied gambling and consider the research of the anthropologist Hayano:

"Many lay people erroneously believe that the cultural anthropologist studies only ancient or nonwestern cultures, digs in the ground, or otherwise studies primates. A passage from a book by card authority John Scarne stood out in my mind as a prime example: 'The observation of crooked card players is my business, as the observation of nonhuman primates is the anthropologist's.' (John Scarne, Scarne On Cards, p. 4). Cultural anthropology is the study of extant human cultures and societies around the world. As a branch of cultural anthropology, ethnography is devoted to the scientific description of one particular culture or group of people [stress added]." (D. Hayano, 1982, The Life And Work Of Professional Card Players, page 183.)

My research has also encouraged me to follow the words of Steve Wynn (cited by David Spanier, 1992, Welcome To The Pleasuredome: Inside Las Vegas, page 17) on making money: Wynn is quoted as saying "If you wanna make money in a casino, own one [stress added!]"


Anon., 1997, "Navajos Vote Down Gambling Plan" in Enterprise-Record, November 5, 1997, page 7A. [No On Proposition 5 - Read The Initiative] [American Indian Gambling and Casino Information Center]'97.html [RECR 232 presentation 8 October 1998] [Indian Gaming locations - Part 1} Arizona to Montana] [ Indian Gaming locations - Part 2} Nebraska to Wisconsin]

VI. VISUALS FROM SELECTED WEB LOCATIONS (sources given below image):



Foxwoods Resort Casino


Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center

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(1) © For the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, on October 8, 1998. This paper draws upon an earlier presentation made in July 1998 available at as well as a presentation made this day for RECR 232 (Commercial Recreation and Tourism), available at; to return to the beginning of this paper, please click here.

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