Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty: The Casino Compromise
From Connecticut to California, Native American tribes have entered the gambling business, some making money and nearly all igniting controversy. The image of the “casino Indian” is everywhere. Some observers suspect corruption or criminal ties, or have doubts about tribal authenticity. Many tribes disagree, contending that Indian gaming has strengthened tribal governments and vastly improved the quality of reservation life for American Indians. This book provides the clearest and most complete account to date of the laws and politics of Indian gaming. Steven Light and Kathryn Rand explain how it has become one of today’s most politically charged phenomena: at stake are a host of competing legal rights and political interests for tribal, state, and federal governments. As Indian gaming grows, policymakers struggle with balancing its economic and social costs and benefits. Light and Rand emphasize that tribal sovereignty is the very rationale that allows Indian gaming to exist, even though U.S. law subjects that sovereignty to strict congressional authority and compromised it even further through the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Their book describes Indian gaming and explores today’s hottest political issues, from the Pequots to the Plains Indians, with examples that reflect a wide range of tribal experience: from hugely successful casinos to gambling halls with small markets and low grosses to tribes that chose not to pursue gaming. Throughout, they contend that tribal sovereignty is the key to understanding Indian gaming law and politics and guiding policy reform—and that Indian gaming even represents a unique opportunity for the emergence of tribal self-determination. As political pressure on tribes to concede to state interests grows, this book offers a practical approach to policy reform with specific recommendations for tribal, federal, state, and local policymakers. Meticulously argued, Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty provides an authoritative look at one of today’s most vexing issues, showing that it’s possible to establish a level playing field for all concerned while recognizing the measure of sovereignty—and fairness—to which American Indians are entitled.
“Professors Light and Rand have succeeded in writing the best book on Indian gaming to date. They do so with thorough research and by acknowledging the limitations of existing data. They do not get lost in a polemic discussion but rather present a fair-minded version of what is known about Indian gaming. . . . [T]here is unlikely to be a better snapshot of the state of Indian gaming anytime soon. This book belongs in every serious American Indian studies collection.”
Kevin Gover, in Wicazo Sa Review (Fall 2006)
“[Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty is] readable and highly informative . . . . the most significant and comprehensive book on the subject to date . . . ”
T. Maxwell-Long, in Choice (April 2006)
“Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty is a major contribution to the literature on American Indian policy. . . . [and] a detailed look at an important issue that will continue to generate controversy.”
Steven C. Schulte, in History (2006)
“This [is a] quite balanced and well researched book . . . ”
Steve Sheppard, "Books for Lawyers from 2005" (2006)
“The most detailed study to date of Indian gaming. The authors show how money, the media, and misapprehensions continue to cloud the efforts of First Nations to attain economic sovereignty and deftly explain the complicated and ambivalent relationship between tribes and the federal and state governments.”
David Wilkins, author of American Indian Politics and the American Political System
“Light and Rand succeed in making a comprehensive, balanced, and even entertaining analysis of the complex issues relating to gaming on Indian reservations.”
Alexander Tallchief Skibine, author of Your Rights as American Indians
“Every state legislator, governor, and Congressman should read this book.”
LaDonna Harris, President, Americans for Indian Opportunity
Indian Gaming Law and Policy
In just over two decades, Indian gaming has become big business throughout the United States. Over 300 tribal casinos in 30 states generate billions of dollars in gambling revenue. The Indian gaming industry continues to grow, attracting widespread attention in the courts, policymaking arenas, and the media. With a complex and controversial federal regulatory scheme and myriad state and tribal regulations, Indian gaming is a growing area of legal and regulatory practice. At the intersection of federal Indian law and gambling law, and against the background of tribal sovereignty, Indian gaming is a complicated and fascinating topic for students, practitioners, and policymakers alike, raising important legal, political, and public policy questions. Indian Gaming Law and Policy provides a comprehensive and accessible explanation of Indian gaming, tracing the genesis of tribal gaming and the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, enacted on the heels of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. The book discusses in detail the Act’s provisions and subsequent legal and political developments, including the scope of gaming and state public policy, the line dividing Class II and Class III games, the increased politicization of tribal gaming after the Supreme Court’s examination of the Act in Seminole Tribe v. Florida, and the multitude of actors – at federal, state, and tribal levels, and within both the public and private sectors – who have regulatory authority or other influence over Indian gaming. As debates over tribal gaming heat up across the U.S., the book examines developing political and policy issues that may determine the future of Indian gaming and includes a helpful appendix to guide practitioners and students in researching Indian gaming issues. Indian Gaming Law and Policy is a one-stop resource for practitioners and policymakers, and also is a highly readable and comprehensive account appropriate for adoption in courses in law, public policy and public administration, and contemporary issues.
“Indian Gaming Law and Policy should be required reading for policymakers at the federal, state, and tribal level. Native American programs in law schools and in universities need multiple copies of this valuable treatise . . . . This book will also be a valuable addition to counsel representing tribes or legislators interested in gaining a cogent understanding of the law and policy of Indian gaming. . . . All academic libraries need this indispensable guide to an increasingly important industry and policy concern.”
Michael L. Rustad, Bimonthly Review of Law Books (July/August 2006)
Indian Gaming Law: Cases and Materials
Indian Gaming Law: Cases and Materials provides a clear, comprehensive, and accessible platform designed specifically for Indian gaming law and similar courses. In this casebook, the authors fuse the necessary background on federal Indian law and the status of American Indian tribes in the American political system with legal approaches to regulating gambling, and provide a useful overarching theoretical approach grounded in tribal sovereignty. The casebook covers necessary background on federal Indian law and the legal doctrine of tribal sovereignty, as well as on the roots of Indian gaming in traditional tribal practices and the imperatives of reservation economic development; provides overviews of pre-statutory law and the genesis of the federal statutory framework governing Indian gaming in light of key court decisions; discusses how the federal classification scheme for tribal gaming creates the parameters for tribal-state relations, including compacting for casino-style gaming; and highlights such topics as the authority of the federal agency responsible for regulating Indian gaming and the authority for gaming on newly acquired lands. The authors also provide an accompanying Instructor’s Manual that contains additional specific suggestions for discussion topics and questions, group and individual exercises, web links to capture dynamic developments in Indian gaming, and supplementary background resources for instructors. Ideal for both new and experienced teachers, Indian Gaming Law: Cases and Materials effectively can be paired with the authors’ legal resource book Indian Gaming Law and Policy.