Indigenous Tribes Fight for Share of Sports Betting Profits

By Sameer Rao May 23, 2018

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 opened Native American tribes across the country to billions of dollars in legalized and federally protected gambling revenue. A 2016 report from the California Nations Indian Gaming Association found that tribal gaming ventures generated $7.8 billion in revenue in 2014 alone.

The United States Supreme Court paved the way for tribes to earn even more on May 14, when a 6-3 decision on Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association struck down previous federal bans on sports betting. But as The New York Times detailed on Monday (May 21), these tribes must now contend with state governments as they figure out how to regulate this new above-ground market.

The Times article highlights several tribal entities and their ongoing negotiations with states over the new economy, which the publication estimates accounts for $150 billion in illegal wagers each year. In Connecticut, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribe operate two of the largest casinos in the country: Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, respectively. Agreements between the tribes and state government guarantee the Pequot and Mohegan nations gambling exclusivity in exchange for 25 percent of all slot machine revenue. These deals yielded a $270 million payment to Connecticut last year. The tribes now want assurance of revenue, especially in light of recently introduced legislation that, if passed, would also allow sports gambling through the Connecticut Lottery.

From the article:


Helga Woods, the attorney general of the Mohegan Tribe, has already written to legislators to point out that if the state authorizes another group to offer what she referred to as “video facsimile gaming,” that would violate the exclusivity provisions of the compact. If that happens, “our obligations to make the slot contributions cease,” Ms. Woods wrote.

Read the full article here.