The History of Tribal Casinos in the US
It all began back in the seventies when the Seminole Tribe in Florida launched a bingo operation. The history of tribal casinos on Indian reservations was born out of a Supreme Court Ruling in 1979.
The State of Florida took action against a new bingo operation on an Indian Reservation which became a popular tourist attraction. Gambling was illegal across most of the US including Florida and the authorities tried to close down. A run of lawsuits led to the Supreme Court ruling which declared the state of Florida did not have jurisdiction over Indian Reservations activities. It was against the US Constitution.
Ironically gambling in Florida might now be legalised. Could this be to compete with the tribal casinos?
The court also declared that the authorities could not tax residents of an Indian reservation. This led to a strange situation never encountered before in the US. It led to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act being passed in 1988.
The Act required all Indian Reservations to confer with the state before offering any casino type games. In the event of non negotiation the Secretary of the Interior get involved. All to often a deal was struck in favour of the Indian Reservations.
The growth of gambling on Indian Reservations
Indian Reservations are spread across the US so the new legislation presented some great opportunities for in the US gambling sector. The National Indian Gaming Commission was formed to regulate the new casinos.
There are now approximately 600 tribal casinos spread across the US on Indian Reservations. Together they generate more revenue than Atlantic City and Las Vegas together. Currently the revenue generated by Tribal casinos is around €30 billion dollars. The growth mushroomed with more than 244 tribes getting involved across 28 of the united states. Read more about global casino investment.
The growth on tribal casinos on Indian reservations was largely due to the involvement of investors from the hotel and leisure industry. Often those investors manage the facilities and pay revenue to the tribe and the state. Harrahs and Foxwoods have been actively involved. Donald Trump was also involved at one time. Casinos and tourism seem to attract each other wherever they are built.
See a map of Indian Gaming locations.