Southern California -- this just in

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Casino concerns in California and Nevada

October 9, 2008 | 12:03 pm

The horrible bus crash this week in Northern California -- which killed eight casino-bound passengers -- is prompting a new look at the booming business. More regulations might be coming, according to the Sacramento Bee:

The fatal crash Sunday of a casino-bound bus in Colusa County has raised concerns about the state's ability to regulate a growing trade of mom-and-pop companies ferrying thousands of gamblers daily to local casinos. ... The bus does not appear to have been registered as required with state regulators. The incident has CHP officials talking about reassessing their oversight practices.

Another casino driving danger in the offing? Consider this item from the Associated Press: "An Indian tribe seeking to build a casino next to a curvy highway is suing the California Department of Transportation. The Jamul Indian Village contends in its lawsuit that the agency has no legal right to apply and enforce land use and environmental laws on the reservation in Jamul, east of San Diego. The tribe wants to build a driveway providing access from state Route 94 to the gambling hall. Caltrans officials say the driveway would be dangerous if used for a large casino."

The rise of California Indian casinos, along with the bad economy, is hitting Las Vegas hard. According to the AP:

Rough times are continuing for Nevada’s casinos, according to a new state report that says that compared to 2007, gambling growth was down for a record eighth straight month in August. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said in a report released Thursday that the casinos in the state won $934 million in August. That compared to just over $1 billion the same month one year ago. That’s a statewide decline of 8.1 percent. The decline was sharpest in Clark County, which saw double-digit decreases in North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip and Laughlin.

--Shelby Grad

Photo: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times