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Early Indian Casino Gaming Cases Modern Indian casino gaming history begins with the Seminole tribe of Florida. In 1979 the Seminoles opened a high-stakes bingo hall on their reservation. Almost immediately the state of Florida moved in to try to close down the operation, however they were stopped by the courts. Despite the early court victories of the Seminoles the legality of Indian casino gaming was very much in doubt.

Another important case in the history of Indian casino gaming was that of California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. In 1987 it was ruled by the Supreme Court that Indian tribal governments in their sovereignty could operate gaming institutions outside of state regulation, assuming that gaming operations were not directly prohibited in that state. At present only two states in the United States, slotoff.com (This Internet page) Utah and Hawai'i strictly prohibit gambling. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) With Indian casino gaming now given definitive legal status by the Supreme Court, it was time for Congress to move in.

In 1988 they passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to set the rules for Indian casino gaming. For one thing, the IGRA separates gaming into three classes. Class I gaming is defined as traditional tribal gaming and social gaming with minimal prizes. There is no regulation whatsoever for Class I gaming outside of the respective tribal governments. Class II gaming includes games of chance such as Bingo and other similar games. Card games are also included if they are played exclusively against other players and not against the house.

Slot machines are specifically prohibited from Class II gaming. Class II gaming is allowed on Indian reservations as long as these activities are already permitted by the state. Finally Class III gaming involves any games that are not included in Classes I or II. This includes slot machines, black jack, craps, roulette, etc. In order for a tribal government to institute a Class III gaming operation they must first have worked out a compact with the state.

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and Indian Gaming Working Group (IGWG) Indian casino gaming is overseen by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) headquartered in Washington DC. The NIGC oversees all Indian gaming operations in the United States. From the first passing of the IGRA Indian casino gaming grew from a $100 million industry to a $14.5 billion industry in 2002. For some reservations and tribal governments the popularity of Indian casino gaming came as a great boon.

Increased revenues allowed for an increase of services to residents, increased employment and an increase in charitable works. However many gaming operations did not fare so well. Often businesses were placed in charge of operations and profits went to these companies rather than to the reservations or tribal governments. Many other elements of corruption also entered the Indian casino gaming industry. In 2002 the Indian Gaming Working Group (IGWG) was established as an extension of the Indian Gaming Investigations unit of the FBI.

Indian Gaming Investigations/Indian Gaming Working Group work to fight against criminal violations in the Indian casino gaming industry. The Indian Casino Gaming Industry Today According to the most recent data published by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Indian casino gaming institutions earn more than $19.5 billion annually. That is more than the gambling revenues of Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined.

In 2002 Indian tribal gaming operations made up 21% of all gaming revenue in the United States. Of the 562 federally recognized Indian tribes, 224 tribal governments are active in the Indian casino gaming industry. There are currently a total of 354 Indian casino gaming operations. (Many governments operate multiple casinos). As Indian casino gaming history shows Indian casinos have proven to be a great source of income for those tribal governments that partake in the process.

It can only be assumed that as revenues continue to grow more tribal governments will become involved in the gaming industry.

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