The potential for legal, regulated sports betting in the United States is putting the US-facing gaming in a frenzy. Entities from big name casinos to the sports leagues (who once opposed sports betting) are all looking to get a piece of the sports betting pie. That group also includes tribal gaming interests.

During the 2018 National Indian Gaming Association Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas, Indian gambling entities expended a tremendous amount of effort to make certain that their tribes can get in on the action, should the Supreme Court overturn PAPSA. (That decision is expected to come down from the court within a few weeks.)

Indian tribes that offer tribal gaming generally operate outside the authority of state governments and are regulated by the Federal government via the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Those regulations both specifically prohibit sports betting on Indian land and the offering of sports betting by government entities, which includes Indian tribes.

In an effort to stay competitive in a post-PAPSA landscape, the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is looking to get both do away with PAPSA and create legislation that allows the tribes to offer sports betting in their casinos.

In an interview with CDC Gaming Reports, Aurene Martin, president of Spirit Rock Consulting and a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was cautiously optimistic about a federal fix for tribal gaming and sports betting saying:

The federal solution is probably the best solution because it presents the best opportunity for tribes across the country to be treated fairly across the board. On the state level, you are left to your own devices in trying to deal with state jurisdiction… in some cases the tribes are in a very good situation and may be better off than with a federal framework, but there are a lot of tribes that (would be) worse off.

While the Federal Government has rarely given American Indians a good deal, they are hoping that a Federal solution will spare them the headaches of navigating a state-by-state solution. In short, pretty much every sector of the US gaming industry is holding its breath while waiting for the Supreme Court to hand down its decision.


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