Slot Machinations
Herminia Rodriguez doesn't need a lawyer to go after her $330,000 winnings from Ak-Chin casino ("Lost Harrah's," Paul Rubin, January 8)! What she needs is a good PR person to contact every Indian casino in the country to explain that the perception of being mistreated at an Indian casino puts in jeopardy the entire Indian gaming movement.

Hundreds of lawyers and lawmakers would love to get their greedy mitts into the regulation and/or elimination of these casinos. The other Indian casinos will be quick to recognize this and explain it to Ak-Chin. With this explanation from other tribes, Ak-Chin will change its mind in a hurry!

Donald W. Jones

I feel really bad that Herminia Rodriguez had to obtain a lawyer to help her collect her jackpot winnings from Harrah's Ak-Chin casino. In light of the tribe's insistence that it cannot be sued or regulated because it is a sovereign nation, I think Rodriguez should contact every major news organization in the country and let them know what has happened to her.

I know through experience that if you can't get any satisfaction from an organization by negotiation and complaints, media exposure helps the organization change its tune. It's not a question of "will" she get her money but "when," because I am willing to bet (not on the reservation, of course) that she will get the money because of all the publicity that Harrah's and this reservation will receive.

John A. Cronin
via Internet

Thanks to Paul Rubin for covering this story of Herminia Rodriguez and Ak-Chin casino. I think that not paying out a jackpot won should be a crime in the state of Arizona; of course, the state tied its hands so that it couldn't do anything about this kind of thing.

How do you establish a so-called "misfire"? Is this just a way not to pay what is due? Will casinos do this to everyone who wins a big jackpot? Would the people of Arizona be ready to boycott this establishment? Or has gambling fever taken over?

Harrah's should have to pay or be closed down. A jackpot is a jackpot any way you want to read it, or every win will become a malfunction. Give Herminia Rodriguez her money!

Sherry Goodspeed

Articles such as Paul Rubin's about Herminia Rodriguez being denied a jackpot at Ak-Chin casino are good in that they raise public awareness to an apparent injustice. It seems that Rubin made particular effort to be fair to all parties involved.

I live in Gilbert and go to a casino once a month. I had been interested in trying Harrah's--its advertising is effective. But now I'll make the trip to Payson to try the casino there. Public opinion can be a powerful thing.

Joanna Smith

I am glad New Times had the tenacity to publish an article about Herminia Rodriguez in her battle with Harrah's Ak-Chin casino. The State of Arizona should protect its citizens from this type of incident and any other issue which invariably happens with gambling.

I enjoy gambling, but I made a promise never to go to Indian casinos. They take advantage because they are the only game in town, but this incident I hope will wake people up. When these casinos start losing revenue, maybe they will realize that Nevada is not that far away, and in Nevada, the gaming commission has some control over casinos.

I believe that patrons should boycott all Native American casinos until a nonpartisan commission is created to oversee gambling on the reservations.

via Internet

I sent this letter to Harrah's: I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada, and grew up with Harrah's a household name. I went to Jessie Beck grammar school (Jessie Beck's Riverside Casino). An Arizona woman won a jackpot at Ak-Chin. It is a beautiful casino, with very nice people and atmosphere. But right now there is a very sticky business of this poor woman's jackpot being revoked because of machine malfunction.

The publicity here is horrible, and the way this whole matter is being handled is very bad. Realizing that your reputation is probably your strongest point, I wanted to implore you to get involved and resolve this issue. Pay the poor woman, and turn a bad situation into a positive one. A bad reputation will last for years, and there is not exactly a shortage of casinos in Arizona!

Scott Smith
via Internet

Park Place
I have spent some time researching Patriots Square park, and that led me to scathing, nearly hate-filled editorials from New Times dating back to 1989. Freedom of the press allows New Times to express itself, and it has, but I recently saw its Thrills listing of Urban Parks and read with dismay: "Patriots Square: Something of an aesthetic eyesore, the park does, at least, provide a green-tinted sanctuary for brown-bagging business lunchers descending from the spires of smoggy downtown, plus a site for various cultural, sporting and entertainment activities."

My question to New Times staff has got to be, why does it continue to bash a park that is anything but an aesthetic eyesore? How much time has the staff spent there? How many lunch concerts has it attended? How many tourists has it heard marvel at the true magnificence of the structure? I have spent countless hours there, enjoying the atmosphere, the entertainment and escape from the bustle of the city.

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