July 19, 1996 in City

Tribe Deserves To Take A Chance For Casino Gaming Would Give Kalispels Economic Boost.

Elana Ashanti Jefferson/Editoria
 

The proposed Airway Heights casino offers the Kalispel tribe a valuable opportunity to reap the benefits of gaming. Community and government should cooperate to make it a mutually beneficial enterprise, instead of opposing the venture with smoke-screen issues and a slanted sense of morality.

Casinos draw people with money to spend. More often then not, it’s money they’ve set aside for fun and relaxation, not rent or groceries. Laws that limit betting, specify how many and what types of games are allowed, and the hours of operation further ensure that this is good, clean fun. Those concerned that the proposed casino would draw seedy characters and higher crime might think about refocusing their attention on the nearby Airway Heights Correctional Facility.

Location is vital to a successful business, and the Kalispels already own the land in Airway Heights. They certainly didn’t pick the location of their small, remote reservation. Should the tribe be restricted to building there, the casino would fail. Gov. Lowry already negotiated a deal with the Quinault Indians allowing them to build a casino 12 miles south of their reservation in western Washington. The Kalispels, like any other business entrepreneurs, deserve the same open-minded negotiation process.

Small-time gaming is already in every community by way of lottery ticket sales, card rooms and bingo halls.

Sincere negotiation regarding the Airway Heights plan could result in a good-faith agreement. As a result of the Quinault’s deal, for example, a percentage of revenue will go to local government and charities.

Indian gaming is also a chance for renaissance and independence in underdeveloped tribal communities. The Kalispel casino would create a full spectrum of job opportunities - not only for the tribe, over half of whom are unemployed, but also for people living in and around Airway Heights. Casino profits would generate money for infrastructure, elementary and higher education, and much needed health and welfare programs. The Kalispels also announced plans to use casino profits to open a tribal cultural center.

Don’t quickly dismiss the Airway Heights casino. It could be one of the most promising business ventures the tribe and its neighbors have seen in ages.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Casino would be bust for Spokane

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Elana Ashanti Jefferson/Editorial writer

See opposing view under the headline: Casino would be bust for Spokane

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Elana Ashanti Jefferson/Editorial writer


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