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Initiative 892, Gambling
Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004 - Page updated at 12:01 p.m.
What is it? Initiative 892 would allow electronic slot machines in non-tribal venues such as cardrooms, bowling alleys and restaurants, taxing the proceeds and using the new revenue to lower property taxes dollar for dollar. Currently, slots are allowed only in tribal casinos, which do not pay taxes.
What would it do? Under I-892, anyone who’s had a state gambling license for six months could install electronic gambling machines now allowed only in tribal casinos. Estimates on how much tax revenue the new machines would raise range from $250 million to $400 million. The state would collect 35 percent of net machine proceeds. Of those revenues, 1 percent would go to problem-gambling programs and the rest to reduce property taxes. Machine operators would get 65 percent of net machine revenues.
Who supports it? The non-tribal gaming industry is funding I-892, saying the tribes’ monopoly on slots is unfair. Slots are considered the most lucrative casino offering. Tim Eyman, who has sponsored other tax-lowering initiatives, wrote the initiative and has been serving as the spokesman.
Who opposes it? The state’s tribes oppose the initiative, saying competition from non-tribal venues would take away millions of dollars now used for schools, health care and other community projects on reservations. The tribes are funding the opposition, but also speaking out are representatives of law enforcement, the Christian Coalition and those concerned that more slots could increase gambling addiction, crime and poverty.
To read the initiative: www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/signatures.aspx
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