CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles

Gaming Guru

 

New Study on the Socioeconomic Impact of Indian Gaming

19 January 2005

The passage of time provides the opportunity for reflection on the societal impact of certain changes in our culture. In the late 1980's, in a landmark legal decision between the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians and the State of California, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld tribal rights to operate gaming enterprises. In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allowing for the current system by which tribes enter into compacts with states to conduct gaming. In the last 17 years, Indian country has experienced many social economic changes as a result of gaming. This month, Harvard University, as part of a special project it is conducting on American Indian economic development, released a detailed 46-page report on the socioeconomic changes between the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

The publication, which is available for free on-line, is a statistical comparison of 15 different socioeconomic indicators. Some key findings of the report reveal that gaming tribes increased their median household income by 35 percent; non-gaming tribes increased theirs by 14 percent. While this growth is significant, the median household incomes for Indians remain just under half that of the U.S. population. Family poverty for gaming tribes decreased by 11.8 percentage points; non-gaming tribes decreased by 6.9 percentage points. Yet, the family poverty rate for Indians is still three times that of the U.S. average. Unemployment also decreased for both gaming and non-gaming tribes, but unemployment among American Indians is still twice the U.S. average. College graduation rates also increased for both gaming and non-gaming tribes, though the U.S. average is still twice that of Indians.

In connection with the release of the study, Ernie Stevens, Jr., chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, made the following comments:

"Living and working within Indian country, I see the benefits Tribal Government gaming is bringing to Indian communities and our neighboring non-Indian communities everyday."

"The report details how far we have come in a 10 year period but it is also a stark reminder of how far we still have to go to overcome the hundreds of years of poverty we have and continue to endure."

As the study reflects, gaming clearly has had a positive economic impact on American Indian communities where it has been introduced. Although gaming is a useful economic tool, it is not a cure-all. Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done. How this will evolve over the next 10 years will be fascinating to watch. Many tribes are reinvesting the income from casinos to diversify their economies and to provide economic opportunities for tribal members.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com