Native American Tribes and Online Poker

Native American Tribes and Online Poker The recent change in policy on online gaming by the United States Department of Justice has meant that online poker and lotteries now do not come under the Wire Act of 1961. The Wire Act is interpreted as referring to “sports betting” so now in many states online poker will become legal.
The Native American tribes who run the two casinos in Connecticut are watching developments in this area as they could have an effect both on casinos and the future of online poker in the state.The question of sovereignty over the native American gaming industry arose in the 1970s when casinos, bingo halls and lotteries were set up and it was decided through the courts that on- reservation gambling was not under direct state control. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1980s that Indian gaming would be regulated by the federal government and not individual states. The tribes saw an area of economic growth in casinos and many tribes have greatly benefited from the development of casinos on their lands. (See Article: Kahnawake Indian Reservation Wishes to have its own Casino).The state of Connecticut has two extremely successful casinos both run by Native American tribes. There are estimated to be about 400 Indian gaming establishments in the United States. In 1992 the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe opened the Foxwoods Resort Casino. This casino is the largest and the most profitable casino in the United States and in the world only the Venetian, Macau is larger than it. The state of Connecticut benefits from a tax of 25% of the casino’s revenue. The casino has over 70000 slot machines and 380 gaming tables which include 76 poker tables.

The second casino in Connecticut which is the second largest in the United States is the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino opened by the Mohegan tribe in 1996. It has over 3000 slots machines and 180 table games. The entertainment resort includes a hotel, restaurants, a sports arena, shops, a spa, entertainment venues, a convention centre along side the casino. It also pays 25% of its revenue from slot machines to the state.

Both land based casinos are waiting to see how the growth of legal online poker will affect their client base and profits. The Governor of Connecticut, D. Molloy is in favour of online gaming and since both of the casinos run by the tribes are so successful it is possible that he may ask them to become involved in Connecticut’s online gaming industry.

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