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Online Casinos Jeopardize a Tribal Monopoly

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When payday rolls around and a person has a few extra bucks in his/her pocket, besides Las Vegas and Atlantic City, there has only been one other place to try to force a meeting with lady luck: tribal casinos.  Tribal casinos have been around since about the late 1970s and their popularity has only increased since then.  It is estimated that there are about 460 tribal casinos with profits around $27 billion.  Needless to say, Native American tribes have reaped quite a reward for being the only game around in certain states.  But with the possible relaxing of rules for online casinos, the monopoly on gaming tribes held could lose some of its supremacy.

A Little History

The current multibillion-dollar enterprise that is tribal gaming wasn’t an inevitability.  In fact, the history of how Native Americans were granted the right to open casinos on their land happened in quite an unassuming way.  It wasn’t, as one might suspect, a hotly contested negotiation with well-dressed lawyers and businessmen.  No, it actually came to pass as the result of a paltry property tax levied against a Native American couple.  The couple claimed that the county had no right to levy taxes on them, and they took their case to the Supreme Court.  In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court found that not only did the county have no right to levy taxes on Native Americans, they also couldn’t regulate anything Native Americans did on their land.  This decision opened the floodgates for tribal casinos and the boom was on.

Success and Monopoly

Tribal casinos have been posting record gains and tribal economies have witnessed unprecedented streams of revenue since the Supreme Court’s hallmark decision.  In fact, during the economic crisis when Las Vegas and Atlantic City were posting substantial setbacks, tribal casinos continued to rake it in, big time.  But that seemingly unrestrained profit generation could slow if or when online casinos like this one get the “ok” from state governments to operate at will.

Because tribal casinos are generally located a good drive from most metropolitan centers, with the advent of online gaming, gamers might find it’s not worth the drive when they can play similar slot games from the comfort of their own home, in their PJs no less!  Tribal casinos have long been the only game in town in certain states and have profited greatly because of that.  But if online casino operators have it their way, those profits might start drying up a little.  Because of the dramatic increase in computer technology in the past few years and the ease of online gaming, tribal casinos might just find that there is a new kid on the block, and he’s not going away anytime soon.

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