Indian Tribes Look to Online Gambling

So Sequoyah started anew, this time constructing his language from letters he found in the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic alphabets, as well as with some Arabic numerals. Baby boomers, formerly the mainstay of the industry, are passing from the scene. The IGRA does not allow a given tribe to simply haul off and start gambling. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have already discovered this, and moved toward interstate pacts. But it is now being resolved as a practical matter. Legal questions affecting the new customers of sports betting.

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I Nelson, of the seminal book Gambling and the Law. One or two key states would legalize Internet gambling, said the prophets, and that would start the avalanche. State governments would stampede toward the new revenue opportunity. So far, only New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have passed legislation to actually license legalized Internet gambling.

One or two others, like California and Pennsylvania, may or may not eventually come in. There are a number of reasons. Gambling is controversial, even yet, so politicians tend to shy away from dealing with it. And Internet gambling did not become the revenue windfall that its proponents promised. The actual haul was about a tenth of that.

Results in Delaware and Nevada were equally unpromising. And getting more revenue was no longer the desperate priority it had been. An economic uptick improved the fortunes of many states without additional gambling. Now a new wrinkle has been added. Under US law as it now stands, could they do that? Which tribes would be most likely to try? And what would be the outcome if they succeeded? The original idea was to encourage Native American self-reliance and lessen their chronic dependence on the government.

A gambling concession looked like just the thing. At the time, this was understood to be something like charity bingo, which many tribes were running anyway. About the same size, but not much bigger. Instead, Indian gaming in the USA grew explosively.

By , there were tribal operations in 28 states, as tribes fielded over gambling operations. And not just bingo or even poker; Indian casinos coast to coast offered slots, craps,and table games as well.

California has a clause in its state constitution forbidding Vegas style gambling; voters had to approve an amendment to that constitution to give California Indians what amounted to a legal monopoly on casino gaming. In , there was no Internet, so the law envisioned land-based Indian gaming only, accessible only when a customer came into a brick-and-mortar casino located on Indian land.

Class I, traditional pastimes, are under full tribal control. Class II, bingo and non-banked card games, require a tribe to set up a system of licensing and supervision, originally under Federal oversight but eventually self-regulating. Online poker took off when enough broadband was available to allow person-to-person interaction and money transfer through a central Internet platform.

Therefore, US gambling law is predicated on state law. Both states and tribes initially opposed Internet gambling in the belief that it would steal their existing clientele: Baby boomers, formerly the mainstay of the industry, are passing from the scene. Many of them want to cut up the US market into 50 little sub-markets, one for each state. An additional wrinkle for Class II is that a tribe may only offer the same kinds of card games or bingo which are also available outside the reservation.

This is why there is no Native American gambling in the states of Utah and Hawaii. Therefore, the tribes in that state may not offer it either. In Idaho, for instance, poker is classified as essentially class III. And the same goes for sports betting. Consequently, a great deal depends on the relationships between a given tribe and its state government.

Even so, a great many details need to be worked out. For California, on the other coast, gambling expansion seems to be at a dead stop. But in the year , the voters authorized a change to that state Constitution, which allowed gaming tribes, and only gaming tribes, to operate this casino style gambling, including banked games and slot machines Class III.

In other words, there are 67 Indian casinos in the Golden State. But there are also licensed card rooms, about 90 of them, who were there first. The card rooms maintain, probably correctly, that the Indian operations have scooped most of the card room clientele from under them.

The Indian operations offer more different kinds of games and mostly bigger jackpots. Add to this that many of them are Vegas-style resorts as well as gambling operations, while the card rooms are severely restricted in improvements or additions. Licensed by the state, they are in fact casino employees whose job is to make sure that anybody who wants to play can find somebody to play with.

Therefore the California Indians are presenting a solid front to the state government: And they have the bucks and the big political wallop to make sure no gambling expansion goes forward without their approval.

Authorizing sports betting in California will require yet another amendment to its Constitution. California, as in so many other things, is the most extreme case of this problem.

But rumblings have been heard in other states, too. The Indian position is that they and they alone are authorized to offer sports betting, since that is considered a casino-style game. But there is competition, too. These compacts specify the minimum age for gambling as well as the type of casino games, number of slots and other gaming-related issues.

Many states set the minimum age at 21 if the drinking age is also 21 and the casino has a liquor license to serve alcoholic drinks on the casino floor. Other states have set the minimum age at 18 or 19, and some have two minimum ages depending on whether or not there is a liquor license. For state-by-state age limits, see our page entitled Minimum Gambling Ages. At the present time there are 29 states with Indian casinos. This number will increase to 31 states in the near future if Massachusetts and Virginia tribes are successful with approval of their casino projects.

Indian gaming operates in 29 states. The top 5 states for Indian casino revenue: Casino City's Indian Gaming Report Use this map to find state-by-state casino locations, gaming information, bingo, restaurants, entertainment, hotel room accommodations. Map Casino List List by Tribes. Just select Practice Play or Real Play on any game! National Indian Gaming Commission www. Nevada N Hamp N Jersey. N Dakota Ohio Oklahoma. Oregon Penn Rhode Is.

S Carolina S Dakota Tennessee.