Bruce Studer and Matthew Rossman are the chief petitioners behind Measure 75. They want to establish what would be the state’s first private casino at the former Multnomah County Kennel Club. They claim that the casino and accompanying family entertainment center would create thousands of new jobs and provide $147 million annually to Oregon’s public schools. Additionally, the project would be subject to income and property taxes, which the state’s nine tribal casinos do not pay. Opponents of the measure say the casino’s primary beneficiaries will be Studer and Rossman themselves. Tribal representatives contend that the casino would have a “severely detrimental” effect on Oregon’s Indian Tribes by cutting into their gaming revenue, which is used to fund tribal services and philanthropic projects.
Measure 75’s road to the ballot box has been littered with legal hurdles. Studer and Rossman have tried twice since 2005 to bring their project before voters by proposing an amendment to the Oregon constitution that would allow a private casino in the state. Each time, they’ve failed to gather enough signatures. This time around, they decided to move forward without a separate initiative to amend the consititution. They claim that the existing state constitution gives voters — and not the Legislature — the right to approve a private casino, which is what they say Measure 75 would do.
What do you think about a private casino in Multnomah County? Do you live near the site of the proposed project? What are the potential benefits and costs of a private casino? Are you involved in Indian gaming? How would this proposal affect you?