A casino just south of Gilroy?

The Gilroy Dispatch discusses a “nebulous” idea for a tribal casino right near the Santa Clara/San Benito County border, south of Gilroy. This proposal seems to be an extension of the “big box” retail concept favored by Gilroy developers – extremely large buildings and parking lots on undeveloped land, designed to pull in traffic from all over the Bay Area, not incidentally clogging the highways in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. To add to the problem, the Native American group that is interested in the casino is not from the area, and local Native American groups are concerned about outsiders bringing gaming their region.

We will have to watch this idea – it raises some obvious concerns from CGF’s point of view.

Update, 9/2/04: We’ve been asking around for more information. The proposed casino would be located just across the border in San Benito County, but is obviously intended to draw gamblers primarily from the Bay Area. Associated resort development could occur in Santa Clara County. Counties and cities have no direct control over projects like these, but it will need the governor’s approval, and Schwarzenegger has signalled that he will not approve a compact without local support. On the other hand, the state government is desperate for money, and local governments might also be tempted by potential revenues.

The tribe consists of five members. Tribal gaming can involve thorny issues of social justice, balancing economic activities for disadvantaged groups with the negative sides of casinos. When a project worth $100 to $300 million is under discussion for a five-member tribe, much of the social justice controversy fades away. More details about the proposal are in the latest Dispatch article, here.

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