US Tribal Gambling

Tribal casinos, as we know them today, were officially authorized under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Since the passage of IGRA, tribal gaming has spread across the US.

Currently, some version of tribal gaming exists in 30 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In total, there are more than 500 tribal gaming establishments across the US. The types of gaming facilities range from casinos to bingo halls to convenience stores with betting machines. And in some locales, tribes are involved in mobile sports betting and online gambling.

Tribal Gaming Revenue

Tribal gaming saw revenues rise significantly over its first 14 years, before hitting a lull in 2009, which just so happened to coincide with the economic recession that began in late 2008. By the mid-2010s the growth returned, but the upward trajectory saw a marked drop-off when the COVID-impacted 2020 numbers were released in August 2021.

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The early growth was due in large part to new markets opening. The lull, as mentioned, can be linked to the Great Recession. The subsequent growth is likely a byproduct of new and expanded markets and an improved post-recession economy.

Tribal Online Gambling by State

The Poarch Band of Creek indians operates three Class II (electronic bingo machines) casinos in the state of Alabama. The Poarch Band also operates a commercial casino in Pennsylvania and several racetracks.

Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama

  • Creek Casino Montgomery in Montgomery, AL (Class II)
  • Creek Casino Wetumpka in Wetumpka, AL (Class II)
  • Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, AL (Class II)

Alaska possesses two tribal gaming facilities that offer Class II gaming (bingo).

Klawock Cooperative Association

  • Klawock Bingo in Klawock, AK

Metlakatla Indian Community

  • Metlakatla Bingo Hall in Metlakatla, AK

15 tribes operate more that two dozen casinos in the Grand Canyon State. These casinos offer Class II and Class III gaming. Arizona tribes can also apply to offer retail sports betting at their properties and online sports betting within the state’s borders.

Ak-Chin Indian Community of the Maricopa (Ak-Chin) Indian Reservation, Arizona

  • Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort in Maricopa, AZ

Cocopah Tribe of Arizona

  • Cocopah Bingo and Casino in Somerton, AZ

Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, AZ and CA

  • Blue Water Casino in Parker, AZ

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation of Arizona

  • Fort McDowell Gaming Center in Fountain Hills, AZ

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

  • Spirit Mountain Casino in Mohave Valley, AZ

Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona

  • Lone Butte Casino in Chandler, AZ
  • Vee Quiva Casino in Chandler, AZ
  • Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler, AZ

Navajo Nation

  • Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort in Flag Staff, AZ

Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona

  • Casino Del Sol in Tuscon, AZ
  • Casino of the Sun in Tucson, AZ
  • Del Sol Marketplace in Tucson, AZ

Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, CA and AZ

  • Quechan Paradise Casino Arizona in Yuma, AZ

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

  • Casino Arizona – McKellips in Scottsdale, AZ
  • Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, AZ

San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation

  • Apache Gold Casino in San Carlos, AZ
  • Apache Sky Casino in Winkelman, AZ

Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona

  • Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, Si’al Ke:k in Glendale, AZ
  • Desert Diamond Casino -Sahuarita in Tuscon, AZ
  • Desert Diamond Casino Nogales in Tucson, AZ
  • Desert Diamond Casino Why in Ajo, AZ

Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona

  • Mazatzal Hotel & Casino P. O. Box 1820 Payson, AZ

White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, AZ

  • Hon Dah Resort – Casino in Pinetop, AZ

Yavapai Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation, AZ

  • Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde, AZ

Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe of the Yavapai Reservation, AZ

  • Bucky’s Casino in Prescott, AZ
  • Yavapai Casino in Prescott, AZ

Arkansas is home to a single tribal gaming facility with Class II and Class III gaming options. It’s operated by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.

Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Saracen Casino Resort, Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas

Tribal Gaming in California is big business. The Golden State is the largest tribal gambling state in the nation by revenue, with dozens of gaming tribes and even more tribal casinos.

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

  • Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, CA
  • Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, CA

Alturas Indian Rancheria, California

  • Desert Rose Casino in Alturas, CA

Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians

  • Augustine Casino in Coachella, CA

Barona Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians

  • Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino in Lakeside, CA

Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria

  • Bear River Casino Hotel in Loleta, CA
  • Bear River Pump and Play in Loleta, CA

Berry Creek Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California

  • Gold Country Casino in Oroville, CA

Big Sandy Band of Western Mono Indians

  • Mono Wind Casino in Auberry, CA

Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians

  • Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina in Lakeport, CA

Bishop Paiute Tribe

  • Wanaaha Casino in Bishop, CA

Blue Lake Rancheria

  • Blue Lake Casino in Blue Lake, CA
  • Playstation 777 in Blue Lake, CA

Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

  • Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, CA

Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community

  • Colusa Casino Resort in Colusa, CA

Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria

  • Red Fox Casino in Laytonville, CA

Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians of the Cahuilla Reservation

  • Cahuilla Creek Casino in Anza, CA

Campo Band of Diegueno Mission of the Campo Indian Reservation 3

  • Golden Acorn Casino in Campo, CA

Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation

  • Havasu Landing Resort & Casino in Havasu Lake, CA

Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria

  • Cher-Ae-Heights Casino in Trinidad, CA

Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-wuk Indians of California

  • Chicken Ranch Casino & Bingo in Jamestown, CA

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

  • Coyote Valley ShodaKai Casino in Calpella, CA

Dry Creek Rancheria of Pomo Indians

  • River Rock Casino in Geyserville, CA

Elk Valley Rancheria

  • Elk Valley Casino in Crescent City, CA

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria 

  • Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, CA

Fort Independence Indian Community of Paiute Indians of the Fort Independence Reservation

  • Winnedumah Win’s Casino in Independence, CA

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

  • Avi Casino in Laughlin, NV
  • Spirit Mountain Casino in Mohave Valley, AZ

Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake

  • Running Creek Casino in Upper Lake, CA

Hoopa Valley Tribe

  • Lucky Bear Casino in Hoopa, CA

Hopland Band of Pomo Indians

  • Sho-ka-wah Casino in Hopland, CA

Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel

  • Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino in Santa Ysabel, CA

Jackson Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians

  • Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel in Jackson, CA

Jamul Indian Village of California

  • Jamul Casino in Jamul, CA

Karuk Tribe

  • Rain Rock Casino in Yreka, CA

Lytton Rancheria of California

  • Casino San Pablo in San Pablo, CA

Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria

  • Garcia River Casino in Point Arena, CA

Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California

  • Twin Pine Casino in Middletown, CA

Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California

  • Feather Falls Casino in Oroville, CA

Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Morongo Reservation

  • Canyon Lanes at Morongo in Cabazon, CA
  • Casino Morongo Bingo in Cabazon, CA
  • Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, CA
  • Morongo Travel Center in Cabazon, CA

Pala Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pala Reservation

  • Pala Casino Resort and Spa in Pala, CA

Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians

  • Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, CA

Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pauma – Yuima Reservation

  • Casino Pauma in Pauma Valley, CA

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pechanga Reservation

  • Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA

Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians

  • Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold, CA

Pit River Tribe

  • Pit River Casino in Burney, CA

Quechan Indian Tribe/CA

  • Quechan Casino Resort in Winterhaven, CA

Redding Rancheria

  • Win-River Casino in Redding, CA

Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation

  • Harrah’s Rincon Casino and Resort in Valley Center, CA

Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians

  • Robinson Rancheria Bingo & Casino in Nice, CA

Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation

  • Hidden Oaks Casino in Covelo, CA

San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians

  • San Manuel Casino in Highland, CA

San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of California

  • Valley View Casino in Valley Center, CA

Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria

  • Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, CA

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation

  • Chumash Casino and Resort in Santa Ynez, CA

Sherwood Valley Rancheria

  • Sherwood Valley Rancheria Casino in Willits, CA

Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians

  • Red Hawk Casino in Placerville, CA

Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians

  • Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA

Susanville Indian Rancheria

  • Diamond Mountain Casino in Susanville, CA

Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

  • Sycuan Resort & Casino in El Cajon, CA

Table Mountain Rancheria

  • Table Mountain Casino in Friant, CA

Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation

  • Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River, CA
  • Lucky 7 Fuel Mart in N. Smith River, CA

Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians

  • Red Earth Casino in Salton Sea Beach, CA

Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation

  • Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville, CA

Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria

  • Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne, CA

Twenty Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians

  • Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, CA
  • Tortoise Rock Casino in Twenty Nine Palms, CA

United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria

  • Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, CA

Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

  • Viejas Bingo in Alpine, CA
  • Viejas Casino in Alpine, CA

Yocha DeHe Wintun Nation

  • Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, CA

Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation

  • Redwood Hotel Casino in Klamath, CA

Colorado boasts two gaming tribes, each operating a single tribal casino. The tribes are also involved in the state’s retail and online sports betting industry.

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

  • Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio, CO

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

  • Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc, CO

Two of the largest tribal casinos in the country are found in Connecticut: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. The state’s foray into online gambling and sports betting includes both tribes, as the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes may offer online casino games, mobile sports betting, and retail sportsbooks.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut

  • Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, CT

Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut

  • Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT

Florida gambling is dominated by the Seminole Tribe, and while the tribe is the biggest game in town, it’s not the only game in town. In addition to the six Seminole casinos, Florida has a second gaming tribe, the Miccosukee Tribe, that operates a seventh tribal casino. However, the Miccosukee Casino is limited to Class II gambling.

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida

  • Miccosukee Resort & Gaming in Avenue Miami, FL

Seminole Tribe of Florida

  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hollywood in Hollywood, FL
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tampa in Tampa, FL
  • Seminole Indian Casino – Brighton in Okeechobee, FL
  • Seminole Indian Casino – Coconut Creek in Coconut Creek, FL
  • Seminole Indian Casino – Hollywood in Hollywood, FL
  • Seminole Indian Casino – Immokalee in Immokalee, FL

Iowa has several tribal casinos, but only one of the three tribes operating those casinos is based in Iowa.

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

  • Meskwaki Bingo, Casino, Hotel in Tama, IA

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

  • WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, IA

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska

  • Blackbird Bend Casino in Onawa, IA

Idaho’s quartet of gaming tribes operates facilities with Class II and Class III gaming.

Coeur d’Alene Tribe of the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, Idaho

  • Benewah Automotive Center in Plummer, ID
  • Benewah Market in Plummer, ID
  • Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort/Hotel in Worley, ID

Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

  • Kootenai River Inn and Casino in Bonners Ferry, ID

Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

  • Clearwater River Casino in Lewiston, ID
  • Express Convenience Store in Lewiston, ID
  • It’Se Ye-Ye Casino in Kamiah, ID

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho

  • Bannock Peak Casino in Fort Hall, ID
  • Fort Hall Casino in Fort Hall, ID
  • Sage Hill Travel Center & Casino in Fort Hall, ID

Indiana has many casinos, but the state possesses just a single tribal casino.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana

  • Four Winds Casino South Bend in South Bend, IN

Kansas has five tribal gaming operators, some of which offer Class II and Class III gaming, while the Kickapoo Tribe’s casino is Class III only.

Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska

  • White Cloud Casino in White Cloud, KS

Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas

  • Golden Eagle Casino in Horton, KS

Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation, Kansas

  • Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta, KS

Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas & Nebraska

  • Sac & Fox Casino in Powhattan, KS

Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma

  • Wyandotte Nation 7th St. Casino in Kansas City, KS  

Louisiana’s four gaming tribes operate five tribal casinos offering Class II and Class III gambling options.

Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

  • Cypress Bayou Casino in Charenton, LA

Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana

  • Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, LA

Jena Band of Choctaw Indians

  • Choctaw Pines Casino in Dry Prong, LA
  • Miko’s Gaming in Jena, LA

Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana

  • Paragon Casino & Resort in Marksville, LA

Michigan boasts one of the most robust tribal gaming industries in the country. In total, 12 tribes operate 25 tribal casinos in the Wolverine State. These properties offer both Class II and Class III gaming.

Bay Mills Indian Community

  • Bay Mills Resort & Casino in Brimley, MI
  • King’s Club Casino in Brimley, MI

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Michigan

  • Leelanau Sands Casino in Peshabestown, MI
  • Turtle Creek Casino in East Williamsburg, MI

Hannahville Indian Community

  • Island Resort & Casino in Harris, MI

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

  • Ojibwa Casino and Bingo in Baraga, MI
  • Ojibwa Casino and Resort in Marquette, MI

Lac Vieux Desert Tribe

  • Lac Vieux Desert Casino and Bingo in Watersmeet, MI

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

  • Little River Casino in Manistee, MI

Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians

  • Odawa Casino Mackinaw City in Mackinaw, MI
  • Odawa Casino Resort in Petoskey, MI

Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi Indians

  • Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, MI

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi

  • Firekeepers 11177 in Battle Creek, MI

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana

  • Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, MI
  • Four Winds Casino Dowagiac in Dowagiac, MI
  • Four Winds Hartford in Hartford, MI
  • Four Winds Casino South Bend in South Bend, IN

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan

  • Saganing Eagle’s Landing Casino in Standish, MI
  • Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, MI
  • Soaring Eagle-Slot Palace and Bingo Hall in Mt. Pleasant, MI

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan

  • Kewadin Casino Christmas in Christmas, MI
  • Kewadin Casino, Hessel in Hessel, MI
  • Kewadin Casino, Hotel & Convention Center in Sault Ste. Marie, MI
  • Kewadin Casino, Manistique 5633 W. US Hwy 2 Manistique, MI
  • Kewadin Casino, St. Ignace in St. Ignace, MI

Minnesota tribes have the best compacts in the nation (paying $0 to the state). The state’s 11 gaming tribes operate 40 gambling properties with Class II and Class III gaming.

Bois Forte Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota

  • Fortune Bay Casino in Tower, MN

Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota

  • Black Bear Casino in Carlton, MN
  • Fond du Luth Casino in Duluth, MN

Grand Portage Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota

  • Grand Portage Casino in Grand Portage, MN
  • Grand Portage Trading Post Casino in Grand Portage, MN

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota

  • Northern Lights Casino in Cass Lake, MN
  • Cedar Lakes Casino in Cass Lake, MN
  • White Oak Casino in Cass Lake, MN

Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota

  • Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel in Morton, MN

Mille Lacs Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota

  • Grand Casino Hinckley in Hinckley, MN
  • Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Onamia, MN

Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota

  • Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Red Wing, MN

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians

  • Seven Clans Casino – Red Lake in Red Lake, MN
  • Seven Clans Casino – Thief River Falls in E Thief River Falls, MN
  • Seven Clans Casino – Warroad in Warroad, MN

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota

  • Little Six Casino in Prior Lake, MN
  • Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, MN

Upper Sioux Community

  • Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort in Granite Falls, MN
  • Prairies Edge Convenience Store Non-Smoking Casino in Granite Falls, MN

White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota

  • 3 Bears Golf, Liquor Store&Towing dba Berry’s Liquor in Mahnomen, MN
  • Cedar Crest Resort in Mahnomen, MN
  • City of Callaway, d/b/a Callaway Liquor Store in Mahnomen, MN
  • City of Mahnomen, d/b/a Wild Rice Lounge in Mahnomen, MN
  • Double Barrel, LLC, d/b/a Ruffed Grouse Roadhouse in Mahnomen, MN
  • Golden Eagle Bingo in Mahnomen, MN
  • Hilltop Supper Club in Mahnomen, MN
  • Isaacson-Bjorge Post 31 American Legion/Mahnomeh in Mahnomen, MN
  • Loon Echo Inc, d/b/a Elbow Lake Store & Bar in Mahnomen, MN
  • M & W Foods Ogema in Mahnomen, MN
  • M&W Service of White Earth in Mohnomen, MN
  • McArthur’s Village Store, Inc. in Mahnomen, MN
  • MDS Food and Beverage, Inc. d/b/a Lean to Tavern in Mahnomen, MN
  • Northwood’s Recreation, LLC dba Ice Cracking Lodge in Mohnomen, MN
  • Ogema Fire Department, d/b/a Ogema Liquor Store in Mahnomen, MN
  • Pappy’s Cafe and Pizzeria in Mahnomen, MN
  • Pinehurst Resort and Lodge, Inc. in Mahnomen, MN
  • Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen, MN
  • Shooting Star Casino Bagley in Mahnomen, MN
  • Stumps Bar & Grill, LLC in Mahnomen, MN
  • Waubun Fire Relief in Mahnomen, MN

Montana is a big state with a sparse population, so it’s not surprising that tribal gaming operators in Montana have numerous, small venues offering Class II gaming (bingo and poker) and Class III gaming in the form of video poker, video keno, and slot machines.

Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation

  • B & S Laundry in Poplar, MT
  • Git-N-Go in Poplar, MT
  • Silver Wolf Casino in Wolf Point, MT
  • T.J.’s Quick Stop in Poplar, MT
  • Tribal Express Casino in Poplar, MT

Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana

  • Glacier Lil Peaks Casino in Browning, MT
  • Glacier Peaks Bingo in Browning, MT

Chippewa Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Montana

  • Northern Winz Hotel and Casino in Box Elder, MT
  • Northern Winz Casino II in Box Elder, MT

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation

  • Gray Wolf Peak Casino in N Missoula, MT
  • KwaTaqNuk Resort in E Polson, MT

Crow Tribe of Montana

  • Apsaaloke Nights Casino in Crow Agency, MT

Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana

  • Fort Belknap Casino in Harlem, MT

Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

  • Charging Horse Casino & Bingo in Lame Deer, MT

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians operates three tribal casinos in the state of Mississippi. Like the state’s commercial operators, all three tribal properties offer Class II and Class III gaming.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

  • Bok Homa Casino in Heidelberg, MS
  • Golden Moon Hotel and Casino in Choctaw, MS
  • Silver Star Hotel & Casino in Choctaw, MS

Nebraska tribal operators are a mixture of Class II facilities, Class III facilities, and a mixture of the two.

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska

  • Lucky 77 Casino in Walthill, NE

Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation

  • Rosebud Casino in Valentine, NE

Santee Sioux Nation

  • Ohiya Casino in Niobrara, NE

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

  • Iron Horse Bar & Casino in Emerson, NE
  • Native Star Casino in Winnebago, NE

New Mexico has a thriving tribal casino industry. 13 tribes operate two dozen casinos in the state, with a mixture of Class II and Class III gaming on offer.

Jicarilla Apache Nation

  • Apache Nugget Casino in Dulce, NM
  • Apache Nugget Travel Center & Casino in Dulce, NM
  • Wild Horse Casino in Dulce, NM

Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, NM

  • Casino Apache in Mescalero, NM
  • Casino Apache Travel Center in Mescalero, NM
  • Elks Lodge Casino in Mescalero, NM
  • Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino in Mescalero, NM

Navajo Nation

  • Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock, NM
  • Flowing Waters Navajo Casino in Shiprock, NM
  • Northern Edge Navajo Casino in Farmington, NM

Ohkay Owingeh) Pueblo of San Juan, New Mexico

  • OHKAY Casino in San Juan Pueblo, NM

Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico

  • Sky City Casino in Acoma, NM
  • Sky City Travel Center in Pueblo of Acoma, NM

Pueblo of Isleta

  • Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque in SE Albuquerque, NM
  • Palace West in SE Albuquerque, NM

Pueblo of Laguna

  • Dancing Eagle Casino in Albuquerque, NM
  • Rt. 66 Casino in Albuquerque, NM

Pueblo of Pojoaque

  • Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, NM
  • Cities of Gold Casino in Santa Fe, NM
  • Jake’s Casino in Sante Fe, NM

Pueblo of San Felipe

  • Black Mesa Casino in San Felipe Pueblo, NM
  • Travel Center – Slot Stop in San Felipe Pueblo, NM

Pueblo of Sandia

  • Sandia Resort and Casino in NE Albuquerque, NM

Pueblo of Santa Ana

  • Santa Ana Star Casino in Bernalillo, NM

Pueblo of Santa Clara

  • Santa Clara Hotel Casino in Espanola, NM

Pueblo of Taos

  • Taos Mountain Casino in Taos, NM

Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico

  • Camel Rock Casino in Santa Fe, NM

The New York gambling landscape is dominated by two big names, the Oneida and Seneca Nations. The two tribal operators run 14 gaming establishments in the Empire State, including the Seneca Niagara Casino and Turning Stone Casino.

Cayuga Nation

  • Lakeside Entertainment in Union Springs, NY

Oneida Nation of New York

  • Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, NY
  • The Inn at Turning Stone in Verona, NY
  • Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY
  • Yellow Brick Road Casino in. Chittenango, NY
  • Oneida Lake Savon #34 in Verona, NY
  • SavOn Gas & Cigarettes #015 in Verona, NY
  • SavOn Gas and Cigarettes #032 in Verona, NY
  • Savon, LLC #39 in Verona, NY

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, New York

  • Akwesasne Mohawk Casino in Akwesasne, NY

Seneca Nation of New York

  • Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, NY
  • Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in Buffalo, NY
  • Seneca Entertainment Center – Oil Springs in Cuba, NY
  • Seneca Gaming and Entertainment – Allegany in Salamanca, NY
  • Seneca Gaming and Entertainment – Cattaraugus in Salamanca, NY
  • Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY

Nevada might be the capital of the gambling universe, but tribal gaming options are sparse in the Silver State. That said, in recent years, major tribal operators from around the country have started purchasing and operating commercial gaming properties in Las Vegas.

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

  • Avi Casino in Laughlin, NV

Moapa Band of Paiutes

  • Moapa Tribal Casino I in Moapa, NV
  • Moapa Tribal Casino II in Moapa, NV

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California

  • Wa She Shu Casino in Gardnerville, NV

North Carolina’s tribal casino industry is a one-tribe show, with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina operating a trio of tribal casinos in the Tarheel State.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina

  • Cherokee Tribal Bingo in Cherokee, NC
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Resort in Cherokee, NC
  • Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino in Murphy, NC

North Dakota’s four gaming tribes operate a number of small Class II and Class III gambling establishments.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation

  • Dakota Magic Casino in Hankinson, ND

Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota

  • Spirit Lake Casino & Resort in Michael, ND

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota

  • Prairie Knights Casino and Resort in Fort Yates, ND

Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation

  • 4 Bears Casino and Lodge in New Town, ND
  • Saltie Dogs Lounge in New Town, ND
  • Scenic 23 Club in New Town, ND
  • Sportsman’s Bar in New Town, ND

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

  • Grand Treasures Casino in Trenton, ND
  • Sky Dancer Hotel & Casino in Belcourt, ND

Oklahoma possesses more tribal gaming locations than any other state as nearly three-dozen tribes operate over 150 casinos. That may seem like a lot for a state with a population of 4 million, but realize many of these casinos are near the Texas border – a state with a massive population and very few legal gambling options.

Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

  • Thunderbird Casino – Shawnee in Norman, OK
  • Thunderbird Entertainment Center in Norman, OK

Apache Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Golden Eagle Casino in Apache, OK

Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma

  • Catoosa Smoke Shop in Catoosa, OK
  • Cherokee Casino – Ft. Gibson in Ft. Gibson, OK
  • Cherokee Casino – Roland in Roland, OK
  • Cherokee Casino – Sallisaw in Sallisaw, OK
  • Cherokee Casino – South Coffeyville in South Coffeyville, OK
  • Cherokee Casino – Tahlequah in Tahlequah, OK
  • Cherokee Casino – West Siloam Springs in Colcord, OK
  • Cherokee Casino Ramona in Ramona, OK
  • Cherokee Nation Grove Casino in Grove, OK
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, OK
  • Roland Travel Plaza in Catoosa, OK

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma

  • Lucky Star Casino – Canton in Canton, OK
  • Lucky Star Casino – Concho in Concho, OK
  • Lucky Star Casino – Watonga in Watonga, OK
  • Lucky Star Casino Clinton in Concho, OK
  • Lucky Star Travel Center Casino – Concho in Concho, OK
  • Lucky Star Travel Center Casino – Hammon in Hammon, OK

Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma

  • Ada Gaming Center in Ada, OK
  • Artesian Casino in Ada, OK
  • Black Gold Casino – Wilson in Ada, OK
  • Border Casino in Ada, OK
  • Chickasaw Travel Stop – Davis Gaming in Ada, OK
  • Chickasaw Travel Stop – Thackerville Gaming in Ada, OK
  • Chickasaw Travel Stop – Ada Gaming West in. Ada, OK
  • Chisholm Trail Casino in Ada, OK
  • Gold Mountain Casino – Ardmore in. Ada, OK
  • Goldsby Gaming Center in Ada, OK
  • Lake Murray Casino Resort Project in Ardmore, OK
  • Lake Texoma Casino Resort Project in Kingston, OK
  • Jet Stream Casino in Pauls Valley, OK
  • Madill Gaming Center in. Ada, OK
  • Newcastle Casino in Ada, OK
  • Newcastle Travel Center in Newcastle, OK
  • Newcastle Travel Center in Newcastle, OK
  • Riverwind Casino – Goldsby in Ada, OK
  • Salt Creek Casino in Pocasset, OK
  • Texoma Casino in Ada, OK
  • Tishomingo Tobacco Games in Ada, OK
  • Treasure Valley Casino in Ada, OK
  • Washita Casino in Ada, OK
  • Winstar World Casino and Resort in Ada, OK

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

  • Choctaw Casino – Antlers Travel Plaza in Antlers, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Atoka Travel Plaza in Atoka, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Broken Bow in Broken Bow, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Broken Bow Travel Plaza in Broken Bow, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Durant Travel Plaza (West) in Durant, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Durant Travel Plaza (East) in Durant, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Grant in Grant, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Grant Travel Plaza in Grant, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Hugo Travel Center in Hugo, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Idabel in Idabel, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Idabel Travel Plaza in Idabel, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – McAlester in McAlester, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Pocola in Pocola, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Pocola Travel Plaza in Pocola, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Poteau Travel Plaza in Poteau, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Stigler in Stigler, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Stringtown in Stringtown, OK
  • Choctaw Casino – Wilburton Travel Plaza in Wilburton, OK
  • Choctaw Casino and Resort – Durant in Durant, OK
  • Choctaw Casino Too – McAlester Travel Plaza in McAlester, OK
  • Heavener Travel Plaza in Heavener, OK

Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma

  • Firelake Casino, in Shawnee, OK
  • Golf Clubhouse in Shawnee, OK
  • Grand Casino Hotel Resort in Shawnee, OK

Comanche Nation, Oklahoma

  • Comanche Nation Casino in Lawton, OK
  • Comanche Red River Casino in Randlett, OK
  • Comanche Spur Casino in Lawton, OK
  • Comanche Star Casino in Walters, OK
  • Numunu Pahmu Travel Plaza/Casino in Devol, OK

Delaware Nation, Oklahoma

  • Casino Oklahoma in Hinton, OK
  • Gold River Casino in Anadarko, OK

Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Bordertown Casino and Arena in Seneca, MO
  • Bordertown Outpost Casino in Wyandotte, OK
  • Indigo Sky Casino in Wyandotte, OK

Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Ft. Sill Apache Casino in Lawton, OK

Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Cimarron Casino in Perkins, OK
  • Cimmaron Bend Casino in Coyle, OK
  • Iowa Tribe of OK Bingo in Perkins, OK
  • Ioway Casino in Chandler, OK
  • Ioway Travel Plaza Casino in Perkins, OK

Kaw Nation, Oklahoma

  • Kanza Casino c/o Southwind Casino in Newkirk, OK
  • Kaw Southwind Braman in Braman, OK
  • Southwind Braman II combined with Braman c/o Southwind Casino in Newkirk, OK
  • Southwind Casino in Newkirk, OK

Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Kickapoo Casino in Harrah, OK
  • Kickapoo Casino – Shawnee in Harrah, OK
  • Kickapoo Casino – Travel Plaza in Harrah, OK

Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Kiowa Casino Carnegie in Devol, OK
  • Kiowa Casino Red River in Devol, OK
  • Kiowa Casino Verden in Devol, OK

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Prairie Moon Casino in Miami, OK
  • Prairie Sun Casino in Miami, OK

Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma

  • The Stables Casino in Miami, OK

Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma

  • Creek Nation Casino – Bristow in Bristow, OK
  • Creek Nation Casino – Checotah in Checotah, OK
  • Creek Nation Casino – Duck Creek in Beggs, OK
  • Creek Nation Casino – Eufaula in Eufaula, OK
  • Creek Nation Casino – Holdenville in Holdenville, OK
  • Creek Nation Casino – Muskogee in Muscogee, OK
  • Creek Nation Casino – Okemah in Okemah, OK
  • Creek Nation Travel Plaza – Muscogee in Muskogee, OK
  • Creek Nation Travel Plaza – Okmulgee in Okmulgee, OK
  • One Fire Casino in Okmulgee, OK
  • River Spirit Casino in Tulsa, OK

Osage Tribe, Oklahoma

  • Osage Casino Bartlesville Central Services in Tulsa, OK
  • Osage Casino Hominy Central Services in Tulsa, OK
  • Osage Casino Pawhuska Central Services in Tulsa, OK
  • Osage Casino Ponca City Central Services in Tulsa, OK
  • Osage Casino Sand Springs Central Services in Tulsa, OK
  • Osage Casino Skiatook Central Services in Tulsa, OK
  • Osage Casino Tulsa Central Services in Tulsa, OK

Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma

  • 7 Clans Casino Perry in Perry, OK
  • 7 Clans Chilocco Casino in Newkirk, OK
  • 7 Clans First Council Casino in Newkirk, OK
  • 7 Clans Paradise Casino in Red Rock, OK
  • 7 Clans Red Rock Casino in Red Rock, OK

Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma

  • High Winds Casino in Miami, OK

Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma

  • Pawnee Nation Trading Post & Casino in Pawnee, OK
  • Stonewolf Casino in Pawnee, OK
  • TeePee Casino in Pawnee, OK

Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

  • Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, OK

Quapaw Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma

  • Downstream Casino in Quapaw, OK
  • Quapaw Casino in Miami, OK

Sac & Fox Nation, Oklahoma

  • Black Hawk Casino in Shawnee, OK
  • Sac and Fox Casino – Stroud in Stroud, OK

Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

  • Seminole Nation Casino in Seminole, OK
  • Seminole Nation Rivermist Casino in Seminole, OK
  • Wewoka Trading Post in Seminole, OK  

Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma

  • Grand Lake Casino in Grove, OK  

Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Oklahoma

  • Golden Pony Casino in Shawnee, OK

Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

  • Native Lights Casino in Tonkawa, OK  
  • Tonkawa Casino-Gasino in Tonkawa, OK  
  • Tonkawa Hotel and Casino, in Tonkawa, OK  

Wichita and Affiliated Tribes

  • Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton, OK  

Wyandotte Nation, Oklahoma

  • Lucky Turtle Casino in Wyandotte, OK  
  • River Bend Casino in Wyandotte, OK  

Oregon has a thriving tribal casino industry, with most of the small casinos offering Class II and Class III gambling found up and down the western coastline.

Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians of Oregon

  • Three River Casino – Coos Bay in Coos Bay, OR
  • Three Rivers Casino in Florence, OR

Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation

  • Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, OR

Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon

  • Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde, OR

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon

  • Wildhorse Gaming Resort and Casino in Pendleton, OR

Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of OR

  • Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs, OR
  • Plateau Travel Plaza in Warm Springs, OR

Coquille Tribe of Oregon

  • The Mill Casino in Coos Bay, OR

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians of Oregon

  • Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, OR

Klamath Tribes, Oregon

  • Kla-Mo-Ya Casino in Chiloquin, OR

South Dakota is another sparsely populated state with an outsized number of tribal gaming establishments.

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation

  • Lode Star Casino in Ft. Thompson, SD

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

  • Royal River Casino and Hotel in Flandreau, SD

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation

  • Golden Buffalo Casino & Resort in Lower Brule, SD

Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation

  • East Wind Casino in Pine Ridge, SD
  • Prairie Wind Casino in Pine Ridge, SD
  • Prairie Wind Casino – Dome in Pine Ridge, SD

Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation

  • Turtle Creek Crossing Casino in Mission, SD

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation

  • Dakota Connection Casino in Sisseton, SD
  • Dakota Sioux Casino in Watertown, SD

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota

  • Grand River Casino & Resort in Mobridge, SD

Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota

  • Fort Randall Casino in Pickstown, SD
  • Yankton Sioux Travel Plaza in Pickstown, SD

Texas is an interesting state for tribal gambling, as gambling is not only illegal in the state, but the state doesn’t have a compact with its tribes. Still, there are two tribal casinos in Texas, one offering Class II gambling, and the other operating Class II and III gambling, the latter in the form of video bingo machines.

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas

  • Naskila Gaming in Livingston, TX

Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas

  • Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, TX

Washington’s tribal casino industry offers Class II and III gambling, whereas the state’s licensed commercial cardrooms are more limited in their offerings.

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington

  • Yakama Nation Legends Casino in Toppenish, WA

Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Washington

  • Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, WA

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Washington

  • 12 Tribes Resort Casino in Omak, WA
  • Coulee Dam Casino in Omak, WA
  • Mill Bay Casino in Omak, WA

Cowlitz Tribe

  • ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield, WA

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

  • Seven Cedars Casino in Sequim, WA

Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation

  • Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, WA

Lower Elwha Tribal Community of the Lower Elwha Reservation, Washington

  • Elwha River Casino in Angeles, WA

Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington

  • Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale, WA

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington

  • Muckleshoot Casino II in Auburn, WA
  • Muckleshoot Indian Bingo in Auburn, WA
  • Muckleshoot Indian Casino in Auburn, WA

Nisqually Indian Tribe of the Nisqually Reservation, Washington

  • Red Wind Casino in Olympia, WA

Nooksack Indian Tribe of Washington

  • Northwood Casino in Lynden, WA

Port Gamble Indian Community of the Port Gamble Reservation, Washington

  • The Point Casino in Kingston, WA

Puyallup Tribe of the Puyallup Reservation, Washington

  • BJ’s Enterprises, Inc. in Fife, WA
  • Emerald Queen Casino – I-5 in Tacoma, WA
  • Emerald Queen Casino at Fife in Fife, WA

Quinault Tribe of the Quinault Reservation, Washington

  • Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores, WA

Shoalwater Bay Tribe of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation, Washington

  • Shoalwater Bay Casino in Tokeland, WA

Skokomish Indian Tribe of the Skokomish Reservation, Washington

  • Lucky Dog Casino in Skokomish Nation, WA

Snoqualmie Tribe, Washington

  • Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, WA

Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation, Washington

  • Chewelah Casino in Chewelah, WA
  • Spokane Tribe Casino in Airway Heights, WA
  • Two Rivers Casino in South Davenport, WA

Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation, Washington

  • Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, WA

Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington

  • Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington, WA

Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Washington

  • Clearwater Casino & Resort in Suquamish, WA

Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation, Washington

  • Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes, WA

Tulalip Tribes of Washington

  • Quil Ceda Creek Night Club & Casino in Tulalip, WA
  • Tulalip Bingo in Tulalip, WA
  • Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, WA

Upper Skagit Indian Tribe of Washington

  • Skagit Valley Casino Resort in Bow, WA

Wisconsin has a thriving tribal casino industry, as there are no restrictions on games offered or betting limits.

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians

  • Bad River Lodge & Casino in Odanah, WI

Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin

  • Potawatomi Carter Casino Hotel in Wabeno, WI
  • Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, WI

Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin

  • Ho-Chunk Gaming – Black River Falls in Black River Falls, WI
  • Ho-Chunk Gaming – Madison in Black River Falls, WI
  • Ho-Chunk Gaming – Nekoosa in Black River Falls, WI
  • Ho-Chunk Gaming – Tomah in Black River Falls, WI
  • Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells in Black River Falls, WI
  • Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wittenberg in Black River Falls, WI

Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin

  • Grindstone Creek Casino in Hayward, WI
  • Seven Winds Casino, Lodge and Conference Center in Hayward, WI

Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

  • Lake of the Torches Bingo in Lac du Flambeau, WI
  • Lake of the Torches Resort Casino in Lac du Flambeau, WI

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin

  • Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena, WI
  • Thunderbird C Store in Keshena, WI

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin

  • Imac Bingo Facility in Oneida, WI
  • Mason Street Casino in Oneida, WI
  • Oneida Bingo & Casino in Oneida, WI
  • Oneida Packerland One Stop in Oneida, WI
  • Oneida Travel Center in Oneida, WI

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin

  • Legendary Waters Resort and Casino in Red Cliff, WI

Sokaogon Chippewa Community

  • Mole Lake Casino and Bingo in Crandon, WI

St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin

  • Danbury Community Center in Turtle Lake, WI
  • Little Turtle Hertel Express in Webster, WI
  • St. Croix Casino Danbury in Danbury, WI
  • St. Croix Casino Turtle Lake in Turtle Lake, WI

Stockbridge-Munsee Community

  • North Star Mohican Casino Resort in Bowler, WI

Wyoming’s two gaming tribes operate four gaming establishments.

Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Indian Reservation

  • 789 Smoke Shop & Casino in Riverton, WY
  • Little Wind Casino in Riverton, WY
  • Wind River Casino in Riverton, WY

Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Indian Reservation

  • Shoshone Rose Casino in Lander, WY

History of Tribal Gaming Pre-IGRA

Tribal gaming (in the modern sense of the word) has roots that predate the introduction of the IGRA in 1988 by nearly a decade. Since the late 1970s, when states began legalizing charitable gambling and lotteries in earnest, tribes experimented with bingo halls and other forms of gambling.

The first modern tribal gaming facility came into being in 1979 in Florida, when the Seminole Tribe opened the doors on a high-stakes bingo facility. The success led to more and more tribes across the country operating bingo halls, leading to pivotal court cases, first in Florida and then in California.

In 1981 the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Butterworth that the tribe could operate a high-stakes bingo parlor. The rationale for the ruling was the form of gambling offered by the tribe was legal in Florida, but as a sovereign nation, the state did not have regulatory power over the tribe. A similar ruling was issued in Oneida Tribe of Indians v. State of Wisconsin in 1981.

California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, a 1987 case that made its way to the United States Supreme Court case involving the development of Native American gaming. In a 6-3 decision the court found that state and local governments do not have the authority to regulate gambling on tribal lands. The decision would lead to Congress passing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988.

IGRA at a Glance

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is one of, if not the most important and consequential gaming laws ever passed in the US.

The goal of the law is to regulate gaming on tribal reservations.

The five key points Congress sought to address with the passage of the IGRA are:

  • Numerous Indian tribes have become engaged in or have licensed gaming activities on Indian lands as a means of generating tribal governmental revenue;
  • Federal courts have held that section 81 of this title requires Secretarial review of management contracts dealing with Indian gaming, but does not provide standards for approval of such contracts;
  • existing Federal law does not provide clear standards or regulations for the conduct of gaming on Indian lands;
  • a principal goal of Federal Indian policy is to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal government; and
  • Indian tribes have the exclusive right to regulate gaming activity on Indian lands if the gaming activity is not specifically prohibited by Federal law and is conducted within a State which does not, as a matter of criminal law and public policy, prohibit such gaming activity.

In addition to setting the framework for tribal gaming, the IGRA also established the National Indian Gaming Commission and set the regulatory structure and compact requirements for three distinct classes of gambling, Class I, Class II, and Class III, which were created under the IGRA.

The three classes are defined as follows:

  • Class I gaming includes social games and traditional/ceremonial games. An Indian tribe can offer Class I games without restriction.
  • Class II gaming includes bingo and non-banked card games. Tribes do not need to enter into any agreements at the state level to conduct Class II gaming under IGRA. Instead, tribal governments are responsible for regulating Class II gaming with NIGC oversight.
  • Class III gambling includes all other forms of gambling, including casino-style gambling. An Indian tribe can operate Class III games only if the tribe and the state have agreed to a tribal-state gaming compact. After the state and tribe have reached an agreement, the federal government must approve the compact before it is valid.

Tribal Compacts at a Glance

Tribes can offer gambling provided the tribe is federally recognized (with its land in trust) and the specific type of gambling is legal in the state. That said, to offer Class III gaming, tribes are required to enter into a compact with the state. These compacts are typically brokered with the governor and sometimes require legislative approval. There is also a second layer to the process, as the US Department of Interior must sign off on the agreement.

A standard compact covers three key aspects of tribal gambling:

  • Tax rates and financial burdens placed on the tribe’s gambling activities
  • The types of Class III gambling allowed
  • Provisions that give the tribe exclusive rights to offer specific forms of gambling within a geographic area

In some states, the third bullet point has become a third-rail issue that has led to tribes stopping payments in Florida and stalled gaming expansions in many other states, like Connecticut.

As original compacts from the 1990s matured, yet another problem arose, as tribes and states argued whether compacts renewed or needed to be renogiated. This has led to major issues in at least two states, New York and Oklahoma.

The Future of Tribal Gaming in the US

The overarching question for Indian Country is internet gambling. Tribes have taken a cautious approach to online gambling thus far, but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated tribal interest in online gambling as tribes seek to modernize and pandemic-proof their gaming revenues.

Where does a bet occur? That long unanswered question holds the key to tribal gaming’s future. That said, it’s a question that is unlikely to get answered anytime soon. Doing so would open a can of worms that has implications for the US and beyond.

Tribal Gaming Twitter

National Indian Gaming Association – Since 1985, National Indian Gaming Association’s mission has been to advance the lives of Native peoples economically, socially and politically.

National Indian Gaming Commission – The mission of the NIGC is to effectively monitor and participate in the regulation of Indian gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

CNIGA – Trade Association representing Tribal Nations engaged in Gaming in California

US Department of the Interior – The DOI reviews and approves all gaming compacts negotiated between states and tribal groups

Indian Country Today – Indian Country Today is a spacious channel that serves Indigenous communities with news, entertainment, and opinion.

Turtle Talk – Turtle Talk is the leading blog on legal issues in Indian Country.

Kevin Washburn – Law professor and dean, former general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission, and specialist in tribal gaming law

Victor Rocha – Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. Editor of Pechanga.net. Conference Chairman for the National Indian Gaming Association. President of Victor Strategies.

Katherine Spilde – Professor and endowed chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming at San Diego State University, specializing in government-owned casino gambling models and Tribal Government Gaming.

Chris Stearns – Former attorney and Chairman of the Washington State Gambling Commission, longtime tribal gaming specialist, and oft-cited expert in the field