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Congress votes to block possible Glendale casino

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The U.S. House voted in the affirmative Tuesday on a bill sponsored by Arizona Congressman Trent Franks that would block the Tohono O’Odham nation from building a casino and resort at 91st Avenue and Northern.

Meanwhile, there are conflicting estimates on how much money that casino would bring to the city of Glendale.

An economic impact report done for the Indian Community by the Analysis Research Group said the casino and resort would generate nearly 1,300 jobs and $18 million per year in revenue for Glendale. The study also claimed $50 million per year in wages would be generated.

David Lebowitz of Keeping The Promise, an opposition group, said those numbers are actually much lower.

“It would actually mean $173,000 per year in revenue for the city of Glendale, according to our economic analysis by Elliott D. Pollack and Associates,” said Leibowitz. “It really comes out to about to less than one dollar in tax revenue for every resident of the city of Glendale. It’s about 75 cents.”

Leibowitz said there’s a reason the Tohono O’Odham nation’s numbers are higher.

“That economic analysis [by the Analysis Research Group] was based on a much larger sized casino than what the tribe later scaled down and said that they were actually going to do,” said Leibowitz.

The Indian community originally planned a 150,000-square-foot casino in 2009, but scaled that back to 50,000 square feet two years later.

Leibowitz said the $173,000 per year in revenue that Glendale would get isn’t enough.

“This particular casino is going to have serious impacts,” said Leibowitz. “It’s going to be more traffic, it’s going to be a bigger drain on police, a bigger drain on fire. This thing’s actually a money loser to the taxpayers of Glendale.”

The Analysis Group hasn’t responded to interview requests.