Tribal Governments Not as Against Online Gambling as We Think

Because many of the highest grossing casinos in the United States are owned and operated by one of the Indian tribes it would seem natural that they would be against the US legalizing online gambling. And for the most part the tribes were. But with attitudes towards legalizing gambling softening and individual states legalizing some online gambling, the tribes are having to re-evaluate their stance on online gambling.

It’s no wonder that the tribes were against legalizing online gambling. Their casinos bring in money to fund education, health care and other government services to Native Americans. You can understand how they would feel threatened by online gambling. It’s not so much taking their business away and they’re selfish, but they are fearful of a loss of income that funds the government programs that helps their people.

But their view is changing. Let’s take a look at a possible reason or two why.

First off the majority of online gambling is done in card game s like poker and blackjack and in sports betting. In 2008 the revenue from those games in the tribal casinos was only $7.3 billion of the $26.8 billion that was made that year. So poker, blackjack and sports betting in a casino are only a small part of the tribal casinos’ total revenue. It stands to reason that they might not be as fearful of legalized online gambling as before.

Another possible reason—if online gambling is legalized in the US the tribes could set themselves up as an online operator of internet gambling they could have a whole new outlet for generating income.

But the tribes have sited that they believe that the US has the technology to regulate online gambling should it be legalized. And they have faith in that regulation, that it could help preserve the exclusive attributes of their casinos. Barney Frank, D-Mass. is the author of such legislation and he has taken the tribes needs into consideration:

“I intend that this legislation should have no impact on (tribal) compacts with states; that is, the bill should not in any way impair existing rights regarding compacts either currently in force or to be signed in the future.”

However, tribal organizations are not endorsing any of the bills being proposed right now. But the tribes being favorable on the subject of legalized online gambling is a good start.