The Native American Casinos or Tribal Casinos have been an integral part of the American casino and gaming fabric for the past four decades. There are 562 federally recognized tribal governments in the US and out of these, 240 tribes operate 460 gaming and casino resorts with a combined revenue of $27 billion. California alone hosts more than 60 Native American casinos. These casinos support the tribal governments in the Indian Reservations. Profits from their gambling enterprises are channeled into education, healthcare as well as charity work in the Native American communities. The gambling and casino businesses have allowed communities in the Reservations to achieve real self-sufficiency.
Indian gaming is multi-faceted and cover the spectrum of the typical gambling businesses in the US. Their business operations include the full casino facilities that offer gamblers Las Vegas-style high-stakes gambling and slots machines as well as smaller gambling operations with games like lotteries, bingo and video poker. However, if you want a different experience, you can always go online. This Casino accepts Canadian players and brings full casino experience right in your browser.
The Indian tribal governments are granted tribal sovereignty and a modicum of self-government and as a result, the Indian casinos and gambling operations have a degree of immunity from direct regulations by the respective states hosting these Reservations. However, Indian Gaming must still be run in compliance with the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Tribal Casinos are also found in Canada although here, the industry is not as robust as across the border. Still, the First Nations gaming industry currently runs about 20 casinos compared to the 460 in the US run by Native American communities.
A Brief History
Indian gaming is currently so lucrative that their gross revenues exceed those of the Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos combined. Yet the advent of the tribe-owned casinos is a fairly recent phenomenon that started in the late 70s. One of the first Native American-owned casinos was a high-stakes bingo hall that was established by the Seminole Tribe in Florida. At that time, it was illegal according to state laws in spite of its wide popularity by both residents and tourists. It therefore faced lots of hurdles from state authorities who tried shutting down the gambling establishment and had to fight back through the Justice system. As the Seminole Tribe was putting up a fight in Florida, the Cabazon Band in California was putting up a similar fight in the lower courts against state authorities in a bid to rescue its casino operations which it had opened in 1980. The tribes put up a spirited fight with a slew of lawsuits that culminated in a major Supreme Court ruling and victory.
The Supreme Court of Ruling of 1986
The Supreme Court Ruling of 1986 gave a lifeline to Native gaming and set the stage for the boom in Indian gaming in the subsequent decades. In the ruling, the Supreme Court determined that Native gaming regulations was exclusively under the ambit of the federal government rather than the state governments. The ruling therefore upheld the tribal sovereignty of the Indian Reservations. This paved the way for the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was passed by the Congress in 1988 and was signed into law by President Reagan. The Act upheld tribal sovereignty, allowing them to create casino-like halls. It also required the states and the Natives to enter into Tribal-State compacts while giving the federal government powers to regulate Indian gaming. Following the signing of the IGRA, Native gaming revenues skyrocketed from just $100 million in 1988 to a whopping $16.7 billion in 2006.A federal agency known as the National Indian Gaming Commission was also created in wake of the IGRA charged with regulating the high-stakes Native gaming. After IGRA, the social and economic fortunes of the Native American tribes changed for the better and they have grown into some of the biggest and most robust players in the American gambling scene.