FAQs

26 Apr 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are you opposed to Indian gaming?
Q: Can Indian tribes make money without casinos?
Q: What is reservation shopping?
Q: What does off-reservation mean?
Q: Where is the best location for Indian casinos?
Q: Why should you care if you have no Indian casino proposed near you at the present time?
Q: Is it a small minority of people that oppose the casinos in the East Bay?
Q: What are legislators currently doing to stop urban casinos?

Q: Are you opposed to Indian gaming?
A. No. We are against the emerging trend by some tribes to seek out and purchase land within incorporated city limits, distant from their historical tribal lands, and having the government put it into trust with the notion that the tribe will build a casino one day.

Q: Can Indian tribes make money without casinos?
A: Indians have the right to support their tribes by operating casinos within the parameters of federal and state law. The United States Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 effectively authorized casino gambling on Indian reservations. In California, Proposition 1A created a process to permit tribes to operate casinos. Unfortunately, exceptions and loopholes in the law have triggered widespread reservation shopping – tribes with or without lands of their own acquiring land within or adjacent to city limits, often far from their own reservations or lands, using outside money to develop huge Las Vegas-like casinos. During the campaign for Proposition 1A in California, the tribes vowed never to build urban casinos. We just want them to keep their promise.

Q: What is reservation shopping?
A: Reservation shopping describes the practice of a tribe seeking to acquire property often far away from their own historical lands to locate a new casino. This has become an even greater concern as some tribes have identified land for their casinos that is in the heart of large urban areas. Frequently, local communities that must bear the tremendous negative impacts generated by a large Indian casino are left with little recourse or opportunity to stop these projects. In many cases, tribes are backed by non-tribal and often out-of-state investors, who retain a share of the casino’s revenues if successfully installed. These investors may “shop around,” approaching different tribes on various reservations to find the best location for a casino. Alternately, investors may consider different parcels of land not part of a tribe’s historical lands to find the potentially most lucrative location and then assist a tribe in petitioning the federal government to take the land into trust as a new reservation for the purpose of installing a casino.

Q: What does off-reservation mean?
A: It means that tribes find and acquire private, non-tribal land as close as possible to existing communities (and prospective customers), often near schools, churches and businesses. Then they ask the U.S. Department of the Interior to take the land into trust for the tribe, effectively rendering it sovereign territory eligible for approvals to conduct casino gambling. Urban locations are favored by tribes, whose traditional lands often are in more remote rural areas. In one case in the State of Washington, a proposed tribal casino is larger than every casino in Las Vegas except the MGM Grand.