Knowing that they had an uphill battle it front of them, proponents of putting up the first non-tribal casino in Oregon still pushed forward with their campaign, all in an effort to drum up enough support to convince voters to pass two measures that would essentially approve the state’s first privately-owned casino.
But after spending more than $5 million, including the production of a series of TV ads called “The Grange”, Clairvest Group Inc. and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation decided to suspend their campaign because they couldn’t get enough support on their side.
This latest development is hardly surprising considering that opposition has been strong on the development of a new casino in Oregon, especially when state lawmakers, past and present, have all voiced their opposition of Measures 82 and 83, two bills that would, in the case of the former, change the state constitution allowing gambling in Oregon, and in the case of the latter, authorizing the building of the casino in the proposed site of Wood Village with an allotment of up to 3,500 slot machines and 150 tables, and a required 25 percent share of revenue allocated to the state lottery fund.
In a statement announcing their decision to drop their campaign plans, the proponents said: “In the last few weeks it appears to the campaign team that not enough Oregon voters are ready to add a private casino to the state’s gaming options. The developers said they’re still committed to building the project if the measures pass and they’ll “continue to hope for the best on election day.”
Despite scoring a huge win with this latest development, opponents of the project aren’t going to sit on their laurels for as long as a decision isn’t made yet. Cynara Lilly, a spokeswoman for the opponents of the ballot measures, reiterated the importance of getting voters educated on the measures, and how the passing of these measures would effectively turn gambling in the state as a private entity and not a “source of government funding”.
Currently, the state of Oregon has nine casinos operated by Indian Tribes, all of which have signed contracts with the state that would allow them to operate one casino each on reservation land. These lands, as per federal law, is sovereign territory, and thus, out of reach of Oregon’s state laws.
If Clairvest Group Inc. and Great Canadian Gaming Corporation are feeling in the dumps over abandoning their campaign plans, then they should take solace in the fact that they’re decision to drop their campaign is a sound move. It was a tough challenge to begin with, and when it became apparent that they weren’t winning this round, cutting bait was the only option they had.