Some Canadian developers had hoped to turn a defunct, rundown and closed former dog racing track in Oregon into the only independently run casino in the entire state that would generate as much as $100 million a year in taxes, however the nine casinos run by Native American tribes in the state spent millions of dollars in a wave of false and misleading ads falsely associating any non-Native American managed casino with crime and other outrageous smears. Now, the developers suddenly have pulled their ads from the airwaves and given up the campaign even before one vote was cast in the election. It was a sad example where one campaign effort to bring 2,000 jobs to an area near Portland will now never see the light of day. And schools and taxpayers will suffer for it as well. Oregon schools have witnessed $500 million in spending cuts in recent times, and the fact that just one independently run casino could have generated up to $100 million back of that lost money is a sad fact.
The casino complex would have been the only nonsmoking casino in the entire state of Oregon as well and the only taxpaying one as well. All of the Native American managed casinos get to keep all of their money for themselves and only give some money to charity or to the community if they so desire to do so. Since the nine Native American managed casinos(one for each tribal confederation) were built, they’ve given $100 million to various community things, however that figure certainly pales against the huge incomes of these casinos or the fact that only just one independent casino have alone could have generated taxes equal to all nine Native American managed casino’s total lifelong efforts in just one year.
It was also a sign that Oregonians are not nearly as liberal or open minded as they think they are. It is a sign that voters aren’t nearly as intelligent as they think that they are either. The claims that an independent casino would somehow be a magnet for crime was absolute hogwash. There were plans to build a state of the art movie theater and performance centers there for concerts or comedy shows such those that comics like Jay Leno or Don Rickles perform down in Las Vegas or in Indian casinos on weekends. But, none of it will happen. Since it closed down, the former dog racing track has become an eyesore and a magnet for broken windows and other vandalism.
It is a sad state of affairs where voters turned down thousands of construction jobs and casino and entertainment complex jobs because of a completely nonsense campaign of outright lies and falsehoods. You’d think that economic development and jobs would be an important issue to voters, but no. The management of the Native American casinos well proved that if you just throw enough nonsense against a wall, that enough of it will stick to bully anyone who wants to compete with their tax free casinos to be beaten down. That’s one heck of a philosophy there. So much for the concept of free enterprise. Some wanted to keep a monopoly on business here, so they used their tax-free advantage to spend millions of dollars to beat down their competition and win. If this doesn’t tell you something about a failure of democracy than I don’t know what does.
No one certainly has any real qualms about any efforts by the Native American community to put more money in their local economy. However, there always remains questions exactly how many in each Native American community are really helped with these casinos, and whether a huge amount of wealth doesn’t still remains in relatively few hands, while there are still many in the Native American community who live in poverty or don’t have decent access to many basic services such as housing or health care. My own friends in the Native American community range from those with strong economic means to some that I know that just struggle with everyday bills and housing or even homelessness. It’s not really certain who oversees the vast wealth generated from Native American casinos, but there seems to be enough of a loose grasp that these casinos can spend millions of dollars to sway election outcomes using their tax-free revenues, while many in their respective Native American communities struggle with everyday expenses.
If anything, the experience of this campaign should beg for more oversight of the management of these casinos to be sure that more money is actually reaching those in Native American communities who aren’t receiving the help that they had hoped for when these casinos were first built. Millions of dollars should be actually spent helping people, not spent on political ads. Most young Native Americans are actually enrolled in the public schools of Oregon, yet these tax-free casinos do little to help those educational costs for society as a whole. The independent casino bid would have at least pumped as much as $100 million of taxes into the system, helping a variety of worthy efforts including schools, no matter who they educate.