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Indian Gaming Act 1988 - Essay Example

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The Indian Gaming Act 1988 may be considered as a follow up to the Indian Self Determination Act 1975. The latter legislation marked a shift from the previous federal policy of centralized control of Indian administration through alternating periods of cultural termination and liberal bureaucracy to one giving Indian tribes at least some measure of self determination…
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Indian Gaming Act 1988
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Download file to see previous pages The previous policies had left them in a state of abject poverty and social disintegration in spit of the outpouring of federal funds for massive welfare and social service costs. However, in order to make the policy of self determination work Indian tribes had to find new enterprises to replace the old economies of hunting and fishing no longer viable in the restrictive reservation environment. For some tribes, one path to develop a new sustainable reservation economy was gaming. The Indian Gaming Act 1988 was designed to provide parameters for tribes wishing to develop this industry with some degree of tribal control. Some tribes did not want to pursue this avenue as it was against their cultural values. Other tribes were interested but were not allowed to pursue this activity in states which forbade it for all their citizens. (Gunn eNotes.) The IGRA represents a compromise between competing interests and powers of Indian tribes, states and the federal government. Prior to this, tribes had the right to engage in all forms of gaming irrespective of state laws. Many states had concerns about possible infiltration by organized crime. While Congress in 1988 did give some gaming rights to federally recognized tribes, it sought to allay state fears by insisting that profits from gaming activities be used to fund tribal government operations such as hospitals, schools, police and fire departments, make donations to charities and help fund neighboring cities. The IGRA divides Indian gaming into 3 classes. Class one includes Indian gaming in connection with tribal ceremonies and is participated in socially for prizes of minimal value. This class is left to the exclusive jurisdiction of Indian tribes. Class 2 includes bingo and non banking card games where players bet against each other rather than the house. This is permitted in states allowing this type of gaming and the governing body of the tribe adopts a resolution approved by the chairman of the 3 member National Indian Gaming Commission created by the LGRA to monitor classes 2 and 3 gaming activities of tribes throughout the country. Under the Act tribes are primarily responsible for regulating class 2 gaming activities subject to Commission oversight. Class 3 includes all other forms of gambling especially casino style. This class is subject to 3 conditions; (1) it must be in a state that authorizes this form of gambling, (2) the tribe must negotiate a compact with the state concerning the nature and extent class 3 gaming the tribe may conduct and its’ regulation, approved by the secretary of the interior and (3) the tribe must have a tribal gaming ordinance approved by the chairman of the NIGC. The Seminole Experience The Seminoles of Florida correctly decided that the gaming industry was their path to developing a profitable tribal economy. They started off in 1979 with high stakes bingo and were able to circumvent Florida state laws against gambling ( Ewen 1996) The Seminoles then tried to expand their operations to casinos, prompting states including Florida to petition Congress to enact the IGRA. The tribe then tried to negotiate a compact with Florida allowing them to operate and regulate casinos but the state refused to cooperate. Alleging bad faith, the Seminoles then attempted to sue the state in federal court as provided for in the IGRA, but this was disallowed by the Supreme Court on the basis that Congress had no authority to subject a state to the jurisdiction of a federal court . Some Seminoles consider this loss as a victory, arguing that it means that technically they only need NGIC approval to operate casinos. However, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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