Pay to play

The lure of easy money is hard to resist, but taking it from a questionable source gives one serious pause. However, the state of California is in a severe budget shortfall and needs to consider all its options. We have one.

How about state officials take a more positive attitude toward allowing full-scale Las Vegas-style gambling in tribal casinos? There’s obviously no way to stop people’s need to risk their money, if that’s what they want to do. The tribes have run a fair house, and their own members have certainly benefited. Why not the state?

California doesn’t tax now; the casinos are exempt. They do pay a percentage into a special distribution fund to mitigate the social costs of gambling addiction. Why not ask the tribes to pay 5 percent more of their income to pay for schools, roads and mental-health programs? Other businesses in California pay taxes. In return the state would loosen up to allow craps and roulette, and allow them to open up near metropolitan areas.

The tribes, in our view, deserve the windfall that has come with gaming. Who could argue with a tribe like the Pomo (see “Don’t bet on it”) who feel they now deserve a chance at the table. Regulations and politics may get in the way, but why not give them a seat and have two winners?