Once again, Arizona's Native Americans have targets on their backs this time because of a ruling Tuesday by the U.S. District Court that says Indian gaming is unconstitutional. If that ruling is upheld, 17 tribes around the state will be forced to close the doors to 19 casinos.
Why? Because Arizona's dog and horse track owners are worried that expanded Indian gaming may lead to the end of the road for their lucrative operations.
Talk about your dog and pony show.
To us, the track owners' complaints are the epitome of hypocracy. They're afraid Indian gaming will lure their gamblers away from the tracks to the flashing bright lights and loud bells of the casinos.
Don't Native Americans have the same right to compete in the gaming marketplace as Wendy's has to compete against McDonald's?
By denying them that right, wouldn't we be recreating a very uncomfortable chunk of Anglo-Indian history?
Director Stephen Hart of the Department of Gaming said he was suprised by the ruling, "because we have felt all along that the law appropriately authorizes the governor to negotiate gaming compacts."
The final outcome, which will be hammered out in court, may not be decided for years. But casino enthusiasts don't have to gamble on the verdict. They can call their state congressmen and senators and tell them that Indian gaming deserves even odds in Arizona.