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Hopi Tribe Decides Against Arizona Casinos
Members say cultural customs preclude profiting from gambling
Members of the Hopi tribe have rejected plans
to build a casino in northeastern Arizona, choosing cultural customs
over cold cash.
The referendum, which called for up to 500 slot machines on tribal
trust land off the reservation near Winslow, was defeated 1,051 to 784
Wednesday night. There are 8,525 eligible voters.
Some tribal members said they believe
gambling goes against Hopi cultural customs and would add another
social ill to a community already plagued by alcoholism and crimes
linked to drug abuse.
Gaming is making money off other peoples
bad habits and the Hopi way says we should not use other peoples bad
habits to benefit, tribal Vice Chairman Caleb Johnson said days
before the vote.
But other Hopis said gaming money is an
economic necessity and would put them on par with tribes that have
used the added revenue for improved housing, education, health care
and law enforcement.
Certainly the Hopi Tribe is similar to all
other tribes they look to generate revenue, said Hopi assistant
general counsel Niccole Winship. This was an opportunity for the
tribe to do so. The members personal choices came out on top.
A casino with 400 to 500 slot machines would
have provided up to 500 jobs and could have generated $24 million
annually, according to tribal officials.
That money would have offset losses the tribe
expects from a decline in coal revenue over the next few years.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive