Tribal Land Casinos and Online Casinos – Facts and History
Indian Casinos in America
More than 20% of the gaming revenues in the United States are generated by casinos owned by various Native American tribes. These Indian casinos, as they are most commonly called, can be found in roughly half the states in the country. There are some Native American casinos that are wildly successful but the vast majority of the approximately 224 tribes involved in gaming have seen only marginal success with their gaming ventures.
Native American gaming is still a relatively new phenomenon and remains highly controversial. Even among the Indians themselves, there are many who feel they shouldn’t be involved in the gambling industry. For many of the natives, the fear is that tribal traditions and customs will become diluted or lost. Many non-native Americans disagree with Indian gaming, saying that one group of people is getting preferential treatment while others do not enjoy the same privileges. No matter the controversy, it looks like Indian gaming is here to stay.
History of Indian Gaming
It all began in the early part of the 1970s, when a couple named Russell and Helen Bryan received their first ever property tax bill. The Chippewa couple lived in their trailer on Indian land in Itasca County, Minnesota. They brought suit against the county, stating that they were not subject to property tax due to living on reservation land. The Bryans lost first in district court and then in the state supreme court, however, when they took their suit to the US Supreme Court, the ruling was different. According the decision rendered by Justice Brennan, states not only didn’t have the authority to levy property taxes on reservation land, but they had no rights to regulate Indian activities on Indian lands.
In 1979, the first major Native American gaming establishment, a bingo hall, was opened by the Seminole Tribe in Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. When the Broward County sheriff promptly shut the place down and arrested several people due to the bingo hall violating state laws governing bingo, the Seminoles, led by Howard Tommie, sued the county. The district court ruling was that the state had no authority due to the sovereignty rights granted the tribe by the federal government.
Throughout much of the 1980s, various Native American casinos, bingo halls and slots parlors were opened. Almost as fast and furious were the lawsuits due to the battle of the states to attempt to force the Indians to follow the same gambling laws affecting the rest of the citizens of each state. Finally, in 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. IGRA compromised a bit, stating that tribes had sovereignty to build casinos and other gambling establishments but that they must form a Tribal-State compact in order to do so.
The passing of IGRA had a huge impact on Indian gambling. From $100 million in gaming revenue in 1988, Native American casinos virtually exploded, going to $16.7 billion dollars in 2006.
Popular Native American Casinos Across the Country
Foxwoods Resort Casino – Located in Ledyard, Connecticut and run by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, Foxwoods is the second largest casino in the world and the largest in the United States. It brings in more gaming revenue than any other casino found in either Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Being about halfway between Boston and New York has helped this casino become the destination that it has on the east coast. The casino boasts 6,393 slot machines and 360 table games, including more than 100 poker tables. With the recent addition of the MGM Grand hotel/resort, Foxwoods is a top east coast tourist attraction.
#1 Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino
Just a few miles down the road from Foxwoods in Uncasville, Connecticut is the Mohegan Sun, the second biggest casino in the United States. Run by a partnership between the Mohegan Tribe and a South African casino group, the Mohegan Sun has approximately 3,000 slot machines and 180 table games.
#2 Agua Caliente Casino
On the opposite side of the country, we find Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California. With 45,000 sq. feet, you’ll find over 1,000 slot machines and 49 table games.
#3 Fantasy Springs Casino
You’ll find this glamorous resort near Palm Springs, California and all the gaming excitement you need with over 2,000 slots and video poker games, along with 40 exciting table games. The resort also features a state-of-the-art off-tracking betting facility and a bingo hall.
#4 Choctaw Casino
Located in the small Oklahoma town of Broken Bow, the Choctaw Casino draws visitors from all over. The casino’s focus is on the hundreds of different slot machines, with bets from a penny up to $5.
#5 Clearwater River Casino & Hotel
This relatively new casino, located on the end of the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho, features more than 600 games. Bet a penny to $5 on a variety of games that include slots, video poker, keno, video blackjack and many huge jackpotprogressive slots.
#6 Cliff Castle Casino-Hotel
If you’re on your way to visit the Grand Canyon, be sure to stop in to the Cliff Castle Casino in the Verde Valley, Arizona. The small but intimate gaming floor features slots, poker and blackjack around the clock.
#7 Golden Eagle Casino
Operated by the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, the Golden Eagle Casino features all the rich gambling experience you’d expect to find in Vegas or Atlantic City, but instead you can find it right in the middle of the country. Bingo, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, slots and more can be found and enjoyed.
#8 Grand Casino Hinckley
You’ll find this luxurious resort in Minnesota, where you can enjoy slots, poker, pull tabs, blackjack and bingo. The most popular attraction is the 28 blackjack tables where you can wager from $2 on up to $2000.
#9 Wind River Casino
Just two miles from Riverton, Wyoming, is the Wind River Casino located on the Northern Arapaho tribal lands. The casino features more than 750 machines that include slots, video poker and progressive jackpot games. They also offer the Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker and Black Jack for those who prefer table games.
For more exciting gambling choices, make sure to keep an eye on our list of the best online casinos in the UK.