More Notes about Tribal Casino Policy and Politics Discussions


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Here's the Oct. 20 presentation for AIS 230. Knowing that each team will present definitions for each topic, this will add more examples of how politics/policy and regulatory/legal issues are affecting tribes and casinos.

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  • From Three Rivers Casino website: The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians through the Three Rivers Foundation demonstrate their dedication to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in Southwest Oregon. The Three Rivers Foundation is devoted to investing in the community in a way that is reflective of the Tribe’s culture, values, and compassion. (Established in October 2011)
  • Unique, legal political status of dual citizenship along with specific rights and responsibilitiesSets American Indian nations apart from all other U.S. racial and ethnic groups
  • SEMINOLE in FLORIDA: Expected to share $233 million in gaming revenues with the state of Florida in the coming year. The tribe shares revenues under its Class III gaming compact. The five-year agreement, which expires in 2015, will bring a minimum of $1 billion to the state. “The Seminole Tribe worked for two decades to secure a gaming compact with the state of Florida that provided a more stable future for the Tribe and its members and allowed for significant sharing of gaming revenue with the state,” spokesperson Gary Bitner told The Tampa Tribune. “The tribe wants to maintain that steady, stable course through 2015 and beyond.”Lawmakers are considering an expansion of non-Indian gaming so the compact will be a big issue in the coming year. The draft of the Florida Gaming Study includes a discussion of the tribe's revenues. CALIFORNIA: United Auburn Indian Tribe (UAIT) comprised of the Miwuk and Maidu Indian tribes, owns and operates the prosperous Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California. In fact, on its website, the UAIT boasts the casino as its sole source of economic development. Building off such success, this tribe has used its gaming profits to establish a Community Giving Program which has provided over $6.4 million to outlying non-profit organizations supporting needs in education, health, arts and humanities, environment, community development, and social services. ARIZONA: The Gila River Indian Community, which operates the Gila River Casino in Chandler, Arizona, has established the Office of Special Funding. The purpose of this office is to oversee the distribution of no less than 12% of the casinos profits to outlying communities. Healthcare, public safety and welfare, and K-12 education are among those community initiatives given priority funding. Required by states as a public service message, most tribes include multiple links to issues of ethics, responsible gaming, and addiction programs. For instance, the Seneca Nation casinos link to New York state treatment options for gambling addiction, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians provides on its website warning signs of gambling addiction and resources for help. KANSAS: The Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation in Mayetta, Kansas describes on its website five public works programs as well as an elder center, food distribution program, and Boys & Girls Club. Since 1998, the tribe describes giving over $6 million in charitable contributions to surrounding communities while 28% of tribal revenues support tribal government operations.
  • Example: SEMINOLE TRIBE IN FLORIDAA draft of the Florida Gaming Study indicates how a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe offers benefits to the state. The compact expires in August 2015. Renewing the agreement, while maintaining limits on existing non-Indian gaming facilities, would result in growth in the tribal and non-tribal sectors, the report said."[O]overall GGR at Florida’s casinos could increase by 8.7 percent to 11 percent, to $2.7 billion in GGR annually," the report said, referring to gross gaming revenue in both sectors. The compact includes revenue sharing provisions. So any increases in the tribe's business benefits the state, the report said."As such, this scenario would provide the Seminole Tribe with greater, potential economic benefit, which could in-turn yield greater revenue sharing, all other things being equal," the report said. "The State of Florida may want to consider whether a more substantial revenue-sharing agreement is warranted for this privilege," it continued.On the other hand, lifting limits on existing non-Indian gaming facilities will result in a reduction of the tribe's contributions to the state, the report noted. This would only lead to "incremental increases" in revenues for the state and "incremental jobs and license fees," according to the draft.Authorizing new non-Indian casinos would definitely lead to more jobs and revenues from the state, the report said. But all revenue sharing with the tribe would end, costing the state as much as $120 million a year, according to the figures presented in one scenario.The draft is due to be finalized on November 1. Lawmakers granted an extension to review the economic scenarios presented in the report.California: In total, the State of California has signed and ratified Tribal-State Gaming Compacts with 71 tribes; there are currently 59 casinos operated by 58 tribes.
  • Plus, the culture will often overlap with the political and economic factors of casinos and tribes. For instance, the Three Rivers Foundation was established in 2011 as the giving arm of the Oregon casino. From the website: Dedication to preserving and advancing the quality of life in Southwest Oregon. Devoted to investing in the community in a way that is reflective of the Tribe’s culture, values, and compassion.
  • This is from the Smithsonian’s American Indian Museum, which includes casino and other discussions.
  • More Notes about Tribal Casino Policy and Politics Discussions

    1. 1. WHY WE ARE STUDYING THIS: Business and cultural interests are tied to legal directives (which influence gaming business decisions) and embedded in branding strategies (which use cultural imagery to draw and sustain business)
    2. 2. TODAY’S SCHEDULE Policy and Political Issues: State intervention Federal intervention Issues of sovereignty Guidelines regarding use of revenues Mandates about gambling BREAK Regulatory, legal issues: Licensing Compacts Rights of tribes against states (and vice versa) Taxation and accounting (including per capita payments)
    3. 3. EXAMPLE OF STATE INTERVENTION: CURRENT SUPREME COURT CASE OF MICHIGAN V. BAY MILLS INDIAN COMMUNITY • Bay Mills: Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act allows gaming on lands acquired with settlement funds • State of Michigan: Change sovereign immunity and state authority for gaming activity under IGRA.
    4. 4. EXAMPLE OF FEDERAL INTERVENTION: CURRENT SUPREME COURT CASE OF MICHIGAN V. BAY MILLS INDIAN COMMUNITY Supreme Court is asked to review IGRA to find Congressional intent to waive tribal sovereign immunity OR Overrule Santa Clara Pueblo for less strict standard if legislation such as IGRA abrogates tribal sovereign immunity.
    5. 5. ISSUES OF SOVEREIGNTY THE TERM “SOVEREIGN” MEANS “INDEPENDENT OF ALL OTHERS” Rights and responsibilities include: • The power to determine the form of government • The power to define conditions for membership in the nation • The power to administer justice and enforce laws • The power to tax • The power to regulate domestic relations of its members • The power to regulate property tax Example in Washington State: After an unannounced FBI raid, the U.S. Department of Justice agrees to notify the Yakama Nation’s tribal police before executing search and arrest warrants.
    6. 6. GUIDELINES REGARDING REVENUE USE UNDER IGRA, NET REVENUES FROM TRIBAL GAMING MUST BE USED TO: Fund tribal government programs or operations; Promote tribal economic development; Provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members; Donate to charitable organizations; and, Help fund operations of local government agencies. Examples: Florida Seminoles, California’s United Auburn Indian Tribe, Arizona’s Gila River Indian Community, Prairie Band of Potawtaomi in Kansas
    7. 7. MANDATES ABOUT GAMBLING • Required by states as a public service message • Issues of ethics, responsible gaming, and addiction EXAMPLES: Seneca Nation casinos link to New York state treatment options for gambling addiction, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians provides warning signs of gambling addiction and resources for help.
    8. 8. LICENSING: SO GAMBLING IS LEGAL, HONEST Example: State of Washington The Washington State Gambling Act (RCW 9.46) gives the public an opportunity to engage in limited charitable and social gambling without fear of organized crime infiltration or the potential for fraud by professional gamblers.” Check it out: STAY CONNECTED via Twitter, YouTube, set up an online account, etc.
    9. 9. COMPACTS: NEGOTIATED BUSINESS AGREEMENT UNDER IGRA Compare Illinois’( 230ILCS35/) Native American Gaming Compact Act a) Governor can’t enter into a compact without requesting authority to General Assembly. b) Assembly must enact legislation authorizing the compact within 30 session days after Governor’s request Example: Ratified Tribal-State Gaming Compacts in Cali INTERESTING: Model Tribal Gaming Compact in Oklahoma SEMINOLE TRIBE IN FLORIDA A draft of the Florida Gaming Study indicates how a Class III gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe offers benefits to the state.
    10. 10. RIGHTS OF TRIBES AGAINST STATES (AND VICE VERSA) Usually to defend tribal sovereignty: Native American Tribes launch legal action against State of New York about banking relationships ACLU joins tribes in suit against State of South Dakota about failures to provide tribal families with due process when removing children from homes The Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation sues State of Oklahoma about water rights Example in WASHINGTON: Skokomish Tribe sues state over hunting rights
    11. 11. TAXATION AND ACCOUNTING (INCLUDING PER CAPITA PAYMENTS) From Forbes: Native American Casino and Tax Rules That May Surprise You Worth knowing: Per Capita payments have ALWAYS been subject to federal taxes. Academic article: Casino Taxation in the United States (may be outdated) PER CAPITA is ADJUSTED: Eastern Cherokee Harrah’s EXAMPLE: Mashantucket Pequot Tribe v. Town of Ledyard (Town assesses state property tax on slot machines owned by non-Indians and leased to casino on rez) Suit is backed by Florida Seminoles, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and Coquille in Oregon, and others,
    12. 12. REMINDER: REVISIT CULTURE PAPER TRIBE VS. TRIBE EXAMPLES Wisconsin, Non-Tribally Managed: • Oneida Nation supports Menominee tribe; needs support of all other 10 tribes for Hard Rock MASSACHUSETTS • Mohegan Sun Palmer proposed; will pay town of Palmer $15.2 M per year plus revenue share and $2.9M one-time payment
    13. 13. PAPER FORMAT: 3 points Format (cover page, background, findings, conclusion) APA citation of all research Minimum of three pages not counting cover page and references 12’ Times New Roman double spaced Page numbers in lower right corner PAPER CONTENT: 4 points Depth of analysis Organization and clarity of writing Strength of argument, critical thinking, recommendations