By David Anderson, Tillicum
Dolores Chiechi, executive director of the Recreational Gaming Association (RGA) of Washington, advocates on behalf of gambling expansion in Lakewood and state-wide in a TNT op-ed, February 22, 2012.
As gambling is a game of numbers, check the number of times Chiechi says “limited”: “a limited (1) number of electronic scratch ticket machines”; “This bill (HB 2786) specifically addresses past concerns about proliferation of gambling by limiting (2) machine gaming”; “the limit (3) of 200 per location”; “Allowing a limited (4) number of machines in existing card rooms.”
This is what Chiechi doesn’t want you to know as to what she actually means by “limited”:
In the Spring of 2008, Chiechi together with Lakewood City Councilman Walter Neary, debated John Arbeeny in a public forum at Lakewood United. Here Chiechi stated that the reintroduction of slot machines remained the intent of her organization to enable non-tribal casinos to “level the playing field” with the tribes.
On September 9, 2008, the Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) met in Gig Harbor where representatives of the RGA advocated successfully (passed at the October, 2008 meeting of the WSGC in Spokane) for increased wager limits, more players per table, and Baccarat – a first ever nickels and dimes (actual cash) thrown in a James Bond type game. It is worth noting here that the Commission denied a proposal for mini-baccarat in 2003 saying at that time it was an expansion of gambling.
On February 17, 2009 – a public hearing was held on HB 2162, the so-called, and misnamed, ‘zoning-control-of-gambling’ bill. Speaking in favor were Lakewood City Mayor Doug Richardson, Lakewood Planning Advisory Board Member and Lakewood City Council Candidate (now current councilmember) Jason Whalen, Lakewood Chamber President Linda Smith, Lakewood Businessman Ted Wier, Kirkland Assistant City Manager, a representative of the Association of Washing Cities (AWC); and noticeable in the audience but not speaking: Dolores Chiechi and Greg Bakamis the latter of whom previously was manager of the Grand Central Casino in Lakewood, in 2009 having entered the corporate office all while holding the position of Lakewood Chamber Executive Board Chairman in which position he convinced the Chamber to convince the Lakewood City Manager to convince the City Council to drop the casino tax rate to 11% from a sliding-scale 10-20%.
March 16, 2011 – Chiechi, once again before the legislature, “says the new video-slot machine proposal her group is proposing would be accommodated by casinos in Lakewood” – Daily Olympian.
According to the Sept. 6, 2004 publication “Horsesass.org – Politics as Unusual” sister to Dolores is Maria Chiechi, “on the staff of the Entertainment Industry Association (EIC) the organization that has for years been pushing the slot machine bill that became Initiative 892” a failed attempt in 2004 to place 19,000 slot machines not only in non-tribal casinos across the State of Washington but in bowling alleys, restaurants and taverns.
There can be no doubt that “limited” to the Chiechi’s, who succeed their father Vito in their “career of representing ‘sin’ industries as one of the state’s most powerful and influential lobbyists,” according to Horsesass.org, means ‘foot-in-the-door’ today, ‘whole-sale-accomplishment-of-long-sought-objective’ tomorrow: gambling expansion via state-of-the-art slot machines throughout Lakewood and beyond.
Note: The EIC represents “minicasinos, bingo parlors, horse racing and other gambling businesses”. The EIC stated in a report “We want the right to operate the same video lottery machines as the tribes under the same rules.” Report: “Background to Dream” by Cheryl Simrell King and Casey Kanzler of The Evergreen State College.[i]
[i] “Study finds reduced poverty; competitors want in on payoff – Debate over benefit of gambling to tribes”, Post Intelligencer, August 12, 2002, E1; Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press