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San Manuel Band of Mission Indians General Overview The 200-member tribe. The bingo hall opened in 1986 and the casino opened in 1994, with an expansion in Jan. 28

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General Overview

  • The 200-member tribe.

  • The bingo hall opened in 1986 and the casino opened in 1994, with an expansion in Jan. 28

  • The tribe spent nearly $300 million on the 330,000-square-foot expansion that added 45 table games and maxed out at 2,000 slot machines under its compact with the state.

  • The tribe's reservation is situated in the in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, just north of the city of Highland and spans about 740 acres.

  • The tribe is also known as "Serrano," a Spanish name that literally means "mountaineer."

  • Employs 1,500 people and is one of the largest businesses in the area of the state that is known as the "Inland Empire".


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Indian gaming as “new buffalo”

  • a source of economic and social survival to today’s tribes.

  • The National Gaming Impact Study Commission has stated that “no …economic development other than gaming has been found.”

  • California has 108 federally recognized tribes, with 54 applying for federal recognition. But 50 tribes have casinos producing net profits of $6 Billion.


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Impact of Gaming

  • The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, owners of the Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon, was able to buy back more than 9,000 acres of original reservation land from profits form its casino.

  • Since 2000, when California voters granted Native American tribes the exclusive right to offer Las Vegas-style gambling, each of the 153 members of the Santa Ynez band has received more than $1 million in casino income.


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Federal Regulation

  • Tribes not obligated under federal and state law to give directly to the surrounding local community to mitigate any casino impact, it is legally obligated to contribute to both the Revenue Sharing TrustFund and the Special Distribution Trust Fund.

  • The Revenue Sharing Trust Fund states that each tribe in CA that does not hold a gaming compact, and so does not engage in casino activites, is to receive $1.1 million per year.

  • The Special Distribution Trust Fund, requires all tribes with casinos to contribute a percentage of their annual income to a fund to be distributed by the state for gambling related compensation: such as offset governmental agencies costs relating to fire, police, sewage, roads and other related services.

  • According to IGRA, a significant amount of gaming revenues, 70 percent, must be reinvested in community infrastructure and support.



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Downside of Indian Gaming Study.

  • Gambling revenue has not trickled down to most Native Americans. Of the roughly 45,000 enrolled members of the state's recognized tribes, more than 6,000 belong to two tribes, the Hoopa Valley and Yurok in Northern California. Hoopa Valley, which struggles with 40% unemployment, has fewer than 350 machines- Indian Country Today

  • Only 2-3% of tribes with casinos are highly successful.


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Political Power Study.

  • ''Ten years ago, when they went to Sacramento, legislators wouldn't even see them. Now legislators fly down to the reservations and beg to be seen. It's the money. And money talks, clearly.'‘ San Manuel Representative

  • The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, is the fourth- largest tribal donor in the country to federal candidates and parties, giving $211,000 in 2003.

  • San Manuel help fund $30 Million dollar for Proposition 90 Initiative (The new compacts would run for 99 years allowing unshackled growth of gambling on tribal lands and give the tribes absolute freedom from competition from non-Indian casino interests. The tribes, in exchange, would start paying the state's standard corporate tax rate, currently 8.84 percent, on net winnings).

  • Indian gaming interests gave 65 percent to Democrats in the last two years, compared to 79 percent in the 2000 election cycle- Center for Responsive Politics.


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  • Today’s California Indian Political Power, stems from Pala Compact.

  • The dissenting tribal governments formed a coalition and decided to appeal to California voters in a statewide initiative for more favorable and respectful compact terms. Many California Indian tribes did not believe that Governor Wilson's administration would ever negotiate an acceptable compact.

  • Surveys showed that about 65 percent of the California general public had favorable opinions of Indian gaming, and the tribes hoped to use their positive image to gain approval of a much more satisfactory compact with the state.


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Public Image Compact.

  • Philanthropy gifts of $5.5 million. In addition, the San Manuel Band has already given millions of dollars to support local programs including California State University at San Bernardino, the San Bernardino Fire Department and the Lighthouse for the Blind, to name a few.

  • Between 1999 and 2002, Indian contributions exceeded $42 million dollars.


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Greed Compact.

  • 1990s, there were 4 full blood Native people and 146 mixed blood San Manuel members.

  • 2000s, there were 25 full blood and 80 mixed blood San Manuel members. 2004 NIGA Economic Impact report

  • Its simplistic to attribute membership disputes exclusively to casino-fueled greed. Some tribes may be legitimately trying to define their historical heritage. Others are playing out old family feuds or settling ancient scores.


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Citation Compact.

  • Carole Goldberg and Duane Champagne. “Ramona Redeeme: The Rise of Indian Political Power. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/wicazo_sa_review/v017/17.1goldberg.html.

  • Oklahoma Indian Times. San Manuel Political Contributions. Oct 27, 2004. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?index=24&did=773182651&SrchMode=1&sid=3&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1117494281&clientId=1568

  • Tribune. Political Contributions. October 20. 3004. http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?did=755640971&sid=3&Fmt=3&clientId=1568&RQT=309&VName=PQD

  • Smith, Eve Darian. New Capitallists: Law, Politics, and Identity Surrounding Casino Gaming on Native American Land. Dec 2002.

  • National Indian Gaming Study. 2004. http://www.indiangaming.org/NIGA_econ_impact_2004.pdf

  • JONATHAN B. TAYLOR and JOSEPH P. KALT. American Indians on Reservations:A Databook of Socioeconomic Change Between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. http://www.indiangaming.org/info/pr/databook/Databook-HPAIED_Gaming_Study.pdf


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