The Importance and Facts About Indian Gaming

In 2009, more than 24.5 million Americans visited Indian casinos and they saw firsthand the progress that Indian tribes are making. Nationwide, there are 237 Indian tribes in 28 states use gaming to create new jobs, fund essential government services and rebuild communities. Here are some of the statistics compiled from various tribes across the US that tells an exciting story of success:

• $26.2 Billion in gross revenue.

• $3.2 Billion in gross revenue from related hospitality and entertainment services.

• 628,000 jobs nationwide for American Indians and our neighbors.

• $9.4 Billion in Federal taxes and revenue savings.

• $2.4 Billion in state taxes, revenue sharing, and regulatory payments.

Important history about Indian Casinos and Indian Sovereignty. Long before Columbus arrived in America, Indian tribes were independent sovereigns. From the first days of the Republic, the United States acknowledged the sovereign authority of Indian tribes. In 1778, the first Indian treaty recognized tribal rights of self-government and the Constitution affirms the sovereign status of Indian tribes in both the Treaty and Indian Commerce Clauses.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) protects gaming as a means to promote “tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.” Across America, schools and hospitals are being built, dirt roads are being paved, and safe drinking water flows-sometimes for the first time. The benefits of Indian gaming are far reaching and extend in many directions.

Regulation. No one has a greater interest in the integrity of Indian gaming than Tribal Governments. Today, Indian gaming is the Native American success story. Tribal governments use their net gaming revenues to fund essential government services-education, health care, police and fire protection, water and sewer service, transportation, child and elder care. And to build basic community infrastructure, schools, hospitals, water systems, and roads. Tribal governments also give generously to charitable causes totaling over $150 million annually.

According to the NIGA, in 2009 Tribal governments spent over $350 million to fund regulation of their industry which provided over 628,000 jobs nationwide. Of the $350 million, Tribal governments spent $260 million to fund regulation of their gaming facilities. Tribal governments also provided $80 million to States to fund regulation. Tribal Governments have adopted Casino Industry Standards and Internal Controls, Tribal Governments must comply with the Title 31 (Bank Secrecy Act). Additionally, Indian Nations have created extensive security and surveillance networking systems to exchange intelligence and monitor casinos.

Federal Agencies with oversight relationships to Indian gaming including the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Attorneys, the U.S. Marshals, Attorneys General, Secret Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribal-State Gaming Compacts provide the states with regulatory power in Indian gaming, though IGRA recognizes that the federal government has primary responsibility for government-to-government relations with sovereign Indian Nations. Most states have a state gaming office providing for the regulation of gaming in the state. The degree of state regulation varies from state to state according to each state-tribal government compact.