The Establishment of Tribal Indian Cultures in the US and Their Impact on Gambling

By the time the USA was founded, the Indian tribes had lived in the land for many millenniums. There are 574 Indian tribes in the US today, and their culture has a significant influence on US culture. They influence agriculture, music, clothing, religion, art, and gambling.

The growth of tribal casinos started in the late 1970s. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in 1988 to help promote the economic development of the natives. By the close of 2022, there were 524 tribal casinos in the US.

Social-cultural influences of tribal casinos in the US

The IGRA allowed the establishment of tribal casinos to promote the social-economic development of the tribes. Each tribal casino is owned and managed by one or more tribes that are recognized by the federal government. For instance, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians owns the Gun Lake Casino. The casino features 156,000 square feet of a facility with more than 2,500 slot machines and 47 tables.

It is not just the Indian tribes who visit the tribal casino facilities or use their online gambling products. The communities around the facilities and visitors are also loyal customers. Gambling promotes social interactions, and tribal casino operators are keen to promote their culture. The influences include food, music, art, architectural designs, game themes, and more.

Tribal casino social-economic influences and how they impact gambling

From 1988 to date, tribal casinos have grown by more than 300 times. In 2021, Indian gaming recorded $39 billion in gaming revenue. In 2022, the casinos grew by 13.5% and recorded a revenue of $53.04 billion. Revenue generated from the tribal casinos is used to promote the social-economic development of the tribes. Some of it is used to promote various Native American cultures as part of tribal welfare.

Part of the revenue funds government agencies and some are donated to charities or established tribal enterprises. It is important to note that the casinos and other tribal enterprises do not strictly employ the natives. Many of the workers are non-natives. Recent research shows that in towns and counties that have a tribal casino, the employment rate has increased by 26% in the last four years. Most of the charitable donations directly benefit a large number of non-natives. The good deeds of tribal casino management attract more people into gambling.

Operating full-scale tribal casinos

Before the passing of the IGRA in 1988, some state governments complained tribal casinos were operating against the established regulations. The Act gave freedom to tribal casinos to operate full scale and for the tribes to set their gaming laws. That meant the casinos could do promotions, offer the best casino bonuses, or do some forms of marketing to attract customers.

The Act gave a boost to the growth of Indian-owned casinos, and demand for their products increased more than 300 times within three decades. Their major impact on society has been an increase in the employment rate and a reduction in poverty and crime.

The casinos added table games and slot machines and expanded their gaming facilities. Some already have fully operational casino hotels and other establishments. The facilities draw clients from communities around and far. The facilities were initially meant to promote tribal Indian cultures, but today, their impact on gambling influences the entire American society across the states.


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