logo_seminoleOver 200 Indian gambling operations produce more income than Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined. The largest sites are currently in the Northeast, namely the Foxwood Casino in Connecticut (which, like all American casino operations, has been hit by the economy). Jack Abramoff also didn’t do Indian casinos any good.

These gambling operations have been one of the best sources of income for Native American tribe members, but have not been without controversy:

  • Gambling itself is still controversial to many people; not so much when it takes the money from the wealthy, but when it takes too much money from middle-class or low-income gamblers.
  • Native American teens can get addicted to gambling, as they sometimes get addicted to alcohol, owing to the independence of tribal jurisdiction laws.
  • Also due to independent jurisdiction, non-Indian operations complain about unfair competition.
  • Owing to the large amount of money involved, there are fears of criminal interference and corruption.

And other controversies. Many of these have been addressed by federal legislation over the past few decades. For instance, other than small-stakes traditional games, gambling must also comply with the laws of state and be run in agreement with the state. Typically, this results in a massive amount of profit for the state.  See Wikipedia for more information.

Anyhoo, Florida’s Seminole tribe’s gambling establishments were the first. Now, the Seminal tribe has reached a deal with Florida governor Charlie Christ, which would send $6.8 billion to Florida over 20 years in return for give the exclusive right to 7 Florida casinos to run card tables and games.

The deal still has to pass the state legislature, and faces opposition: legal, moral, and other. Trouble is, if the state turns it down, the federal government might just force it anyway, only this time without the state reaping a share of the profits.