The worst thing about the four gaming-related referendums on the Feb. 5 ballot is that there's no right choice. We're left with choosing between two bad options.

Propositions 94, 95, 96, 97 allow four California gaming tribes to expand their casino operations. These agreements were already approved by the governor, but opponents are trying to stop the deals from going into effect by gathering enough signatures to force it to a referendum, claiming, among other things, that the tribes won't be giving the state enough money and that the compacts fail to require basic health care options for casino employees.

Here's where we see bad choices on both sides: Voting in favor of the propositions means supporting a monopoly that has corrupted our state political process with undue influence. We've seen the effects of this when gaming tribes used their power to keep the proposed casino projects in Barstow from moving forward in the state legislature. The share of the revenue the gaming tribes give to the state is, for all intents and purposes, a bribe to allow them to keep their monopoly intact.

However, voting against the agreements means supporting the omnipresent entitlement culture in California. The commercials opposing the propositions are, to be frank, absolutely disgusting, treating these businesses as though they're supposed to be an ATM machine to solve the state's spending problems. One commercial flippantly points out that the revenue from these four tribes accounts for less than one percent of the state's budget, as though this is relevant to anything. How much of the state's budget is spent on these tribes? Under what logical claim does the state deserve more other than the state wanting more money for its devastated budget?

So what we are left with is a choice between supporting monopolies or supporting the state's massive, deficit-inducing entitlement system. Ultimately, we made our decision based on which of these evils is currently causing more harm to the state. Unlike many other monopolies, casinos provide a completely unessential service that can be replaced by other forms of entertainment. Those who do not support the monopoly of Indian casinos or gambling in general do not have to give them a dime. So the evils of this particular monopoly are pretty much voluntary.

The state's massive entitlements, however, are bankrupting our state, and rather than demanding more money from the tribes, the state needs to get its spending under control. In fact, if these ballot initiatives were for any type of business besides a monopoly, there would be no question that we would reject the idea that the voters could demand more money from them.

We asked the state to support our casino projects because they were good business for the tribes involved and for Barstow. While we may not like the behavior of the gaming tribes in their opposition to our projects, consistency dictates that if we expect them to honor our efforts to grow, we have to honor theirs.

Grit your teeth, say a curse, and vote yes on propositions 94 through 97.