Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Fri, Sept. 18

Arizona Indian Gaming Survey

Phoenix, Ariz. - By an impressive 64 percent to 24 percent margin, Arizonans favor a proposed ballot initiative to restore Indian gaming compacts in the state while contributing tens of millions of dollars to scholarships and elder care programs, according to a recent poll commissioned by the YES for Arizona! campaign and conducted by Phoenix-based Behavior Research Center.

Ray Bernal, Chairman of Yes for Arizona! said the 612 voters surveyed statewide were particularly supportive of the benefits of the proposal: earmarking of funds for education and elder care for all Arizonans, inclusion of non-gaming tribes in financial benefits, and protection of the right of Indian tribes to continue to offer gaming.

Ironically, some voters oppose the initiative based on their belief that current state of Arizona restrictions on Indian gaming are too severe and duplicative of Federal and Tribal regulations. “We’re pleased to see that so many Arizona voters recognize the valuable contribution of Indian gaming to the state of Arizona,” said Bernal, “and we look forward to continuing to educate the public about this beneficial initiative and to a successful campaign culminating with the measure’s passage in November.

The initiative calls for several improvements in Indian gaming, including: Earmarking three percent of profits from Indian gaming for education and elder care programs. An increase in slot machine allotments for Arizona tribes. Allowing isolated rural tribes to lease their allocations of slots to urban tribes with casinos so that they can earn money for much needed reservation programs. Allowing a limited number of gaming tables (20) in each casino. Increasing the minimum age for gaming in Arizona from 18 to 21. Securing 20-year compacts between the State of Arizona and Indian tribes to solidify the long-term stability of Indian gaming. “We were pleased to see that after hearing all of those elements of our initiative, voters were so supportive,” said Bernal.

And by a 71 percent to18 percent margin, Arizona voters strongly believe Indian tribes should be permitted to conduct gaming on reservations.

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