Sparks still fly over Casino San Pablo

casino_front_sm.jpgJust because the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians backed off its hopes to install Nevada-style slot machines at its San Pablo Lytton Casino (formerly the Casino San Pablo card room) doesn’t mean its opponents have stopped taking potshots.

A spokesman for the East Bay Coalition Against Urban Casinos — a group of concerned citizens whose effort has been bankrolled by local card rooms who don’t want an Indian casino’s competition — sent out this release yesterday:

Casino San Pablo’s numbers are in: Estimated at $132 million for 2007. These numbers are unreleased but we expect them to be released formally in a few weeks. Tack these onto $140 million in 2006…

Did you hear that sucking sound? That was over a quarter of a billion dollars being drained out of the East Bay community in two years!

If it is true that the population within a five and 10 mile radius provides a casino with its most frequent player pool, then Casino San Pablo is winning on the backs of the East Bay.

At $33,192,867 for the quarter (Confirmed with Bradley Ward, Finance Director of the City of San Pablo), or $132,770,000 on an annual basis, Casino San Pablo is celebrating their most prosperous holiday season ever. This is representative of the enormous amount of income they have generated since installing the slot machines in August 2005. They win!

It is common knowledge that gambling rates go up during the holidays. The increased financial challenges of holiday gift giving and celebrations lead many to turn to gambling to help pay off debts (From Michigan Dept. of Health). People also gamble more when they are under stress, some do it as an escape, but more than often, it is an attempt to take a little bit of money and win a lot.

The trouble is, in order for a casino like Casino San Pablo, which attracts mostly lower-income clientele who live in the area, to make a lot of money, many people have to repeatedly lose lots of money.

Despite what the Prop 94-97 TV ads in favor of the casino propositions are spinning, most people would honestly say that the people who are losing their money this Christmas at Casino San Pablo probably need it a whole lot more than the already-rich Lyttons do.

Replied Doug Elmets, spokesman for the Lytton Band:

Of course, the Card Clubs don’t mention the hundreds of new living wage, full benefit jobs that the Casino has created; the millions that the Casino contributes to the City of San Pablo which keeps the City from spiraling into bankruptcy; the millions that are pumped into the local economy through vendors that service the casino; the millions that go to public safety to make San Pablo a more protected community; the hundreds of local non-profits and disadvantaged citizens who benefit from the Lytton Tribe’s generosity; and the members of the Lytton tribe who now have housing, health care and educational opportunities, something that has eluded them for generations.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Andrés Soto

    The Lyttons, their out of town bankrollers and their enablers on the San Pablo City Council have shown nothing but manipulation, disingenuousness and an arrogant disregard for the health of the West Contra Costa community outside of San Pablo.

    The Lyttons relied upon Congressman Miller to pull a hidden, undemocratic deal to skirt around the regular path to tribal recognition. Then they lied about their intentions about slot machines. Now they are taking advantage of a loop hole in federal law to claim that their slot machines are not slot machines because they play bingo. Ludicrous!

    Doctor’s Hospital is right next door going belly up at tax payer expense and the Lyttons ahve done nothing to help keep it open. In fact, they have taken away the hospital’s back parking lot as overflow parking for the casino.

    The West Contra Costa County Unified School District is in its 21st year of state receivership and the Lyttons have not given a plug nickle to help, or to enrich the learning environment.

    Traffic and crime around the casino are heavily impacted and yet the only benficiary is the City of San Pablo and its police department. No mitigation for the traffic nor the crime that impacts us in nearby neighboring Richmond.

    This is typical of an American industry created by the likes of mobsters Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel and now carried on by the likes of a new breed of mobsters like Chuck Abramoff and Sam Katz. This new breed consorts with in the White House while pimping rent-a-tribe Indian groups and by playing off the, unfortunately, limited guilt felt by Americans for the genocide against the indigenous peoples. The attitude this new breed is promoting is “if the indians are involved, it must be alright.”

    Richmond and North Richmond have been targeted for casinos by similar shady operators. Jim Levine a toxic waste site developer is pushing a casino at Pt. Molate in Richmond sold to him by th big dummbies on the Richmond City Council. And another rent-a-tribe casino is being promoted by local moneymen Eric Zell and Josh Genser in North Richmond. Just what these crime ridden communities need – more loss of of capital to outside powers.

    Don’t believe the lies!

    The Lyttons and their cronies are just bad neighbors.

  • Andrés Soto

    Correction: I meant Jack Abramoff