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How Native American Gaming Could Impact Online Poker

Native American gaming interests are an x-factor that could seriously impact how legal, online gaming is regulated in the United States.

That’s because, unless the Federal Government intervenes, tribes will be able to operate online with almost no regulatory oversight. Throw in a few hundred small tribes that need little more than a couple servers to set up an online poker room and you’ve got a very interesting situation on your hands.

Here’s what every gaming affiliate needs to know about Native American gaming interests and online gambling in America.

Native American Gaming in America

Currently, there are around 575 recognized Indian tribes in the United States. Around 237 of these groups have gaming operations that are spread across 28 states. When combined, Native American gaming pulls in around $26.5 billion a year.

(It’s worth noting that much of that much of that revenue is concentrated amongst a few, high powered tribes like the Pequot in Connecticut whose Foxwoods Casinos generates hundreds of millions of dollars.)

Native American gaming falls into an interesting gray area of the law. Tribes are not bound to state laws unless they’ve obtained that power from the Federal Government. So the Feds really have full power over what impact tribes have on the American online poker market.

Of course not every tribe that wants to pursue gaming actually can. Some groups are simply too small, or too isolated, to pursue land-based gaming.

How Online Native American Gaming Might Look

Online gaming changes that landscape in a big way.  Unless the Federal Government intervenes, all a small tribe would need to get an online poker room going is a partnership with an existing gaming company.

If these tribes are allowed are allowed to establish themselves in a relatively unregulated market, that shifts the power base away from corporate interests like MGM and Caesars.

Larger Indian tribes and established, land-based casinos aren’t really interested in competing with the smaller tribes. So don’t be surprised to see gaming industry lobbyists pressuring Congress to come up a national online poker bill.

Putting It All Together

Indian gaming interests are, potentially, a major factor in the online poker equation. It’s pretty safe to say that once the US Presidential election is done, lawmakers will be taking a much closer look at this issue.

What impact do you think Tribal Gaming interests will have on online poker regulation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.