According to reports with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office, the Northern Arapaho Tribe is currently the only supporter of an advocacy group which has been lobbying against the proposed gambling expansion in the state. The Group, called Wyoming Public Policy Center, appeared at the end of 2018 and has been lobbying against the expansion of the state’s gambling market.
Also, Al Addison, who is a co-chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, is listed as the primary “association representative” of the group in the filing. The latter has revealed that the casino which is being operated by the tribe has made a contribution of $80,500 to the group since the end of 2018. According to reports from lobbyists, the expenditures of the group amounted to a total of $61,000.
Since the lobbying group against the gambling expansion was created, the above-mentioned advocacy group has focused on killing legislation which would establish an off-reservation competition to the Wind River Hotel & Casino outside Riverton.
During the 2019 legislative session, the Wyoming Public Policy Center has been primarily focused on opposing a bill which would have made so-called “video skill games” legal in the state. These games, which are actually a type of slot machines, had gained popularity among local residents before Peter Michael, the former Attorney General of Wyoming, issued his opinion that these games should be constituted as illegal slot machines which would end up re-establishing a monopoly for the two Native American Tribes in the state.
The Tribe’s Three Casinos Are Its Major Economic Driver in the Last Decade
For the time being, the three casinos of the Northern Arapaho Tribe have been the major economic driver of the tribe over the last ten years, with total gaming revenues amounting to $36 million. Moreover, the Northern Arapaho is still the only tribe on the territory of the US which has active gambling operation without a gambling compact with the state but still shares part of the generated gambling revenue with the state.
The slot machines operated by the tribe are responsible for generating approximately 85% of the overall casino revenue of the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
During this year’s legislative session and following interim discussions, the lobbying group had managed to keep its supporters away from the spotlight until the beginning of the week. Most of the time, it has simply ignored the efforts of state legislators and local media to reveal the identity of the group which has already poured thousands of dollars into advertising campaigns over the past seven months.
Still, in January 2019, a spokesperson of the group responded to an email sent by the Laramie Boomerang, explaining that the private citizens had created the lobbyist organization to monitor Cheyenne and oppose any possible expansion of the gambling sector that could be initiated by the Government.
According to new filings, the organization has been driven by its government-run gambling operation which has been disguised an advocacy group. The anti-gambling expansion group has also been engaged in promoting that gambling is bad for Wyoming communities.