Friday, April 19 2013, 09:48 PM CDT
Tribes will speak on casino before city and county officials
By Jessica De Nova/KTVL.com
MEFORD, Ore.-Next week, the Coquille Tribe plans to present the City of Medford and Jackson County with its plan for a casino on South Pacific Highway.
The Coquille Tribe said it hopes to show it'll be beneficial, for everyone. "Come down and explain the situation. Explain what we're doing and talk about, you know, the benefits of this project not only to the tribe, but to the city and how this is a real win for everyone," said Ray Doering with the Coquille Tribe.
The Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe said it'll be there too, because the business will not only compete against its Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, but is breaking rules, already in place. "In fact, the Cow Creeks do have an interest in this because of the Seven Feathers Casino and Resort up in Canyonville that the impacts aren't just on us and that there's a system in place that works already and it shouldn't be assumed that what is being proposed here is part of the norm," said Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe General Counsel, Wayne Shammel.
Though the Coquille Tribe said the 600 gaming-machine casino will benefit everyone, the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe said an ECONorthwest study showed otherwise.
The report said the casino will hurt teacher wages, which partially rely on lottery revenue from Medford. "25 million goes to the state, out of that, 60 percent of all the lottery revenues go to the teachers' fund [...] so out of the 60 percent that the teachers would normally be looking to to get, they'd be looking at four, five million dollar a year cut from this casino happening," said Shammel.
Surveys by the Coquille Tribe told another story. "Actual people who actually live in Jackson County have told us that sure, they'll try our new place, but they're not gonna give up their loyalty to the lottery outlets there," said Doering.
Ray Doering said the new casino's modest, electronic bingo games may take some of the Seven Feathers Casino and Resort clients, but it cannot compete with the Resort. "Which makes them Las Vegas-style gaming and there's table games and there's Class Three slot machines and the whole hotels and spending on the facility," said Doering.
Wayne Shammel said today's technology makes electronic games feel real. "Through the magic of computers it can be displayed on the screen as a real game, like a regular line machine slot game in whatever flavor you like it," said Shammel.
Doering said in the end, the federal government will make the final decision, but local government can give it some input. "City and County officials have been asked by the federal government to comment on what the impact of this would be in their communities or if they have any concern," said Doering.