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Schwarzenegger Intends to Shut Down 6 Casinos

By Joni Hawk, Jun 30th 2006
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to try to shut down six casinos – including two of the largest in San Diego County – in a heated discussion over how their slot machine numbers are tallied.

Schwarzenegger rejected a wished-for conciliation from Sycuan, Barona and four other tribes, warning he would seek a court order to retract their gambling compacts unless they get rid of the machines in question or tally them as the state insists.

"Tribal officials are surprised why Schwarzenegger would launch what could be a major battle over a device that, as of now, accounts for only a small sliver of California's $7 billion Indian gaming industry.

"…Darrel Ng, the spokesman for Gov. Schwarzenegger said that after a year of negotiations, the governor is convinced that some tribes are using slot machines with multiple seats to exceed the slot limits of state gambling agreements, or compacts.

Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro and the alliance group chairwoman, Lynn Valbuena of San Manuel, issued concise prepared statements, saying they remain hopeful of resolving the dispute. A Morongo spokeswoman said Chairman Maurice Lyons considers the governor's stance 'disproportionately hostile.’

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