Casinos were among the various places where gambling operations were carried out in OK. They were mostly in Indian reservations as well other tribal land. Several issues were bound to rise as a result of the tribal sovereignty in these areas. State governments had very limited ability to control or curb gambling. It is estimated that, on the year 2011, total gambling operations amounted to four hundred and sixty that were run by about two hundred and forty tribes. They generated revenues worth $ 27 billion (Wilmer).
As expected of any income generating activity, the casinos have a considerable impact on the Indians as well as the non-Indians. The benefits drawn from the operations of the casinos by both the people as well as the economy of OK are not in any way to be underrated. The casinos operate just like any other business activity and influence the economy and the living standards favourably. The revenues from the operations of the casinos have been able to create revenues for over six hundred thousand people. The salaries from the employment generate approximately $3.1 billion in the form of taxes for the federal state. The taxes, therefore, are a way of benefiting the non-Indians through government expenditure on social welfare, as well as social securities. Direct benefits of these revenues include those who are employed as well as the casino owners. The creation of employment increases the purchasing power of people and benefits extend to other enterprises that produce other goods and services (Witmer). Sales increase is resulting to expansion of the economy thus better living standards for both the Indians and the non-Indians.
More so, the revenues from the gaming operations offer a chance for the tribes to give back to their people, that is provided crucial services thereby alleviating the strain on the federal services that were in most cases underfunded. The services included the Indian health services as well as bureau of Indian affairs. The tribes have provided day care, educational resources, housing to members, healthcare and job training. More so, the revenues have enabled the tribes to combat many of the historical problems that faced their people. For instance, the Indians were more susceptible to many diseases, and many of them could die from homicide and even alcohol related causes. The diseases like diabetes and infant death syndrome were common among the Indians but as of now, they have managed to combat them (Light and Steven). These are the benefits that usually go to the people surrounding major corporations that practice corporate social responsibility. The casinos have done a lot in terms of looking into the affairs of the surrounding tribes and have been beneficial to both the Indians and the non-Indians.
The other major benefit of the casinos is that they operate with tax exempt status and, therefore, much of the income generated remains in the hands of the Indian thereby giving them a greater incentive to use the money on the good of the tribe. The casinos have also attracted outside investors who make good money. The economy thereby can grow at a faster rate and the revenues for the government increases. Statistics has shown that the per capita for the tribes with casinos have increased by about 36% as compared to those without casinos whose per capita only increased by 21%. Family poverty and deep poverty rates have dropped as a result of the gaming (Haugen).
Just as businesses obtain licences for them to operate within the country, the casinos have to make compacts with the states in which they are set to operate. These requirements are provided for in the regulation act of 1988 called IGRA. It is usually a form of a business agreement although they have been surrounded by many controversies. They have guidelines on how the government (federal) regulate the agreements. The major topics usually covered by the compacts include provisions of criminal law or civil law on the part of the tribe as well as the state in matters relating to the gambling. More so, the court jurisdiction between Indian tribes as well as the state that is necessary to enforce the laws, money that the state can regulate is also provided.
The artwork in the casinos is a great attraction with buildings made of expensive materials. They are in fact magnificent, some with gold lining on either inside or outside or both. The design carried mostly the Indian architecture. Some of them were so large and could hold many people at a go.
The gambling history of the Indians can be traced back into the 1970s. By this time, it was not popular, and there are emerged regular wrangles with the authorities that tried to control the and even tax them. Gambling was done in the Indian reservations. It appeared to the authorities as an illegal business and arrests were made from time to time resulting in several legal wars between the sheriffs and the Indian communities. Thus, the Indians opted to start private casinos on the reservation lands and could set gaming prizes far above the legal limit set by the government.
The Indians started to fight for their sovereignty over the reservations in a bid to make themselves immune from the state laws. Various legislations have from since been in order to bring the whole issue to a consensus (D.). Thus, the Indian got the freedom and mandate to protect their casinos and thus their interests as did the state. However, the state's mandate to provide oversight over the Indian casinos has up to now raised issues since the tribes fear the encroachment of the tribal sovereignty (D.).
Gambling has been tied to the history of OK. It was legalised in the 1990s the time that the Indians opened casinos in that state. In the modern days, gambling is done in racinos, state lotteries as well as bingo halls. The fully fledged casinos attract numerous tourists from various neighbouring states. There are of late various forms of gambling. Racinos and horse tracks were a popular form of gambling, but it was limited to only a few friendly bets mostly between horse owners. The lottery has surprisingly been successful in OK and has raised millions of cash for the education system of the state. The lotteries are a favourite in frontier times. OK sells lotteries in the form of scratch off tickets and also offered lotto games.
Bingo halls are also popular gaming sites for gambling. Most of the best casinos in OK started as bingo halls and has since advanced to offer casino games including slot machines. The casinos in OK are currently estimated to be over 50. The most visited are majorly the ones along borders. There has also been online gambling in OK. It may not be much popular in those states that prohibit gambling, but it is extremely popular for those who want to gamble from home (Haugen).
Despite gambling being beneficial to the tribes as well as the non-Indians, it comes with it some negative impacts. Most importantly are the criminal activities associated with gambling. Much of the income from gambling lands into the hands of drug dealers and other forms of the underground economy. This has often given rise to organised crime in OK. That is the reason the OK government has been trying to control the exercise to help it combat such crimes.
In conclusion, Indian tribes and casinos are a popular phenomenon in OK as it is in other American states. It can be said to the Indian tribes' major source of income or economic activity that generates revenues for both the tribes and the governments. The sovereignty of the Indian reservations gives them an incentive to defend their interests and have thereby been successful all through. It is an activity that has since transformed the lives, as well as the status of the Indian tribes. The revenues have catered for the Indians' welfare a great deal that was usually underfunded by the federal government. It has brought in a great number of investors in the state that has seen an increase in the revenues of the government and increased employment.
D., Michael McBride. indiangaming.com. 14 5 2011. 27, 4, 2014 <http://www.indiangaming.com/regulatory/view/?id=75>.
Haugen, David. Legalised Gaming. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2006.
Light and Andrew Steven. Tribal Sovereignty and Indian Gaming. University of OK press, 2005.
Wilmer, Frank. Indian Gaming. Wicazo Sa Review, 2008.
Witmer, Cornassel. "Challenges of Indigenous Nationhood." Forced Federalism (2006): 97-115.
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