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Prop 48 Cheat Sheet: Off-Reservation Gambling in the Central Valley

Proposition 48 would allow one tribe to build and operate a casino 38 miles from its reservation, and allow another tribe, whose land is even farther away, to collect revenue from the casino.
Proposition 48 would allow one tribe to build and operate a casino 38 miles from its reservation, and allow another tribe, whose land is even farther away, to collect revenue from the casino. | Photo: Jeff Kubina/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Proposition 48 will appear on California's Nov. 4, 2014, ballot.

Prop 48 gives voters a chance to strike down or enact a bill lawmakers passed last year approving an off-reservation tribal casino in the Central Valley.

AB 277, as it was known, okayed a deal whereby the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians would be allowed to build a casino in Madera County, 38 miles from its reservation in the Sierra Nevada foothills. As part of the law, the Wiyot Tribe, whose land is in Northern California, would collect 2.5 to 3.5 percent of net slot machine revenue from the North Fork's casino. This deal would last 20 years.

The North Fork tribe decided not to seek a casino on its land in the Sierra National Forest, near Yosemite National Park, because it is remote and environmentally sensitive.

The Wiyot Tribe agreed not to build a casino on its land near the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge after the state cautioned that doing so could be environmentally unsound. As a part of that agreement, the state agreed the Wiyot Tribe could collect some revenue from the North Fork's casino instead.

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The North Fork's proposed casino would be built west of State Highway 99 in Madera County, and hold 2,000 slot machines. It's estimated the deal would bring the Wiyot Tribe an average of $6 million annually.

The law would also make any state and local government agencies that work on the casino exempt from some environmental rules.

The North Fork would pay the state around $1.5 million annually for regulatory and other costs. It would also pay the city and county of Madera a total of $16 to $35 million as a one-time payment, as well as about $10 million annually to local governments, including in Madera County.

Key Points:
Prop 48 would ratify or overturn a law that permits off-reservation gambling in Madera County for two Indian tribes

The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians would be permitted to build a 2,000-slot machine casino 38 miles from its reservation

The Wiyot Tribe would collect around $6 million annually from the casino in exchange for not building a casino on its lands near the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which the state cautioned could be environmentally unsound

What Your Vote Means:
A YES vote means the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians could build a 2,000-slot machine casino in Madera County, 38 miles from its reservation

A YES vote means Wiyot Tribe would not build a casino on its lands near the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and in exchange would receive about $6 million annually from the casino in Madera County

A NO vote means that the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians will not be permitted to build a casino in Madera County

A NO vote means the Wiyot tribe is free to negotiate a new gambling agreement with the state

Principal Supporters:
Vote Yes 48 Campaign
Gov. Jerry Brown
California Democratic Party

Principal Opponents:
Stand Up for California
Table Mountain Rancheria
Brigade Capital Management
Chukchansi Economic Development Authority
United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria

Click here for full text of the referendum.

NOTE: The author of this post -- not the proponents of each measure -- selected the aforementioned key points for each ballot measure. They do not represent all of the provisions detailed in Prop 48, rather they are intended to offer the salient details.

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