The Voters signal support for casino plan

Tribal casinos in Bastow, California, have taken another step toward establishing themselves about 120 miles west of the Nevada border. Last week, voters in the desert rejected a referendum that would prevent two Indian tribes from building a casino side by side in Bastow, near the tourist-populated Bastow, off Highway 15.

Tribes that have agreements with California’s governor and are undergoing additional state and federal approval can begin building twin casinos in late 2007 or early 2008 if all approvals are met.

“We are starting an 18-month process (with the U.S. Department of the Interior),” said Tom Shields, a spokesperson for Michigan-based BarWest, which will run the casino.

Federal approval is required to use the land as an Indian-owned casino. Also, both chambers of the California Legislature must approve contracts with the state.

But rejecting Basto residents’ measurement H with an 81% to 19% turnout was the first step in showing support for introducing casino games into the high deserts of San Bernardino County.

Backed by a third tribe lobbying for its own casino site, Measure H would have killed the proposed casino site on Lenwood Road next to Factory Marchants at the Basto Outlet Center.

“What the vote has shown is that Basto residents clearly want this project and the economic benefits it will bring to the community,” Shields said. “We think this vote sends a message to lawmakers and others.”

Mayor Lawrence Dale Basto said in a statement that defeating anti-casino measures would affect California lawmakers who are scheduled to discuss tribal agreements this summer.

“It comes at the perfect time because the legislature is ready to adopt the agreement,” Dale said. “Our community’s support is no longer in question.”

According to a plan announced last year, the two tribes – the Los Coyotes Band in San Diego County and the Coupeno Indians and the Big Lagoon Lanceria Band in Humboldt County – will build twin casinos on 47 acres near Barstow’s outlet mall.

The tribes signed a deal with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in September to allow the state to collect a quarter of the proceeds from casinos. The tribes will be allowed to have up to 2,250 slot machines, each with a table game. 카지노사이트 순위

Bastow officials said the twin casinos are expected to provide 3,700 jobs and add at least $175 million annually to the local economy.

The estimated $160 million joint venture is controversial because it will give land for casinos to two Indian tribes with no ties to the Basto region.

The move, which has been called “booking shopping” by critics, is taking place across the United States as it allows landless Indian tribes to have the same opportunities for economic development as those with many bookings.

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