US Indian Tribes blocking Online Gaming Legalization
In the past, the biggest hurdles to getting online gaming completely legalized within the United States has always been the US federal government and land-based casinos. But with multiple states pushing the agenda and the current American recession, US lawmakers and casino operators are more serious now than ever about doing away with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). However, there’s just one big roadblock in the way of their legalization efforts: US Indian tribes.
The tribes that operate casinos within the United States believe legal online gaming would put a serious crimp in their profits. Furthermore, they think that major land-based casino companies such as Harrah’s and Caesars Entertainment would have a distinct advantage because of the amount of money they can put into online casinos.
A spokesperson for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee discussed this disadvantage by saying, “It’s a direct threat to the economic growth in Indian country – and at a risk to tribal communities and the tremendous growth that has occurred in Indian country and surrounding territories.” The spokesperson finished by adding, “To think my tribe is going to compete with someone like Harrah’s on the Internet? There’s no name recognition – so my customer base is severely diminished.”
Essentially, many Indian tribes are falling back on an old argument used by Harrah’s, Caesars, and other major casino companies in the past. However, these casino companies have come around to the idea that online casinos could help supplement their income, rather than keep visitors from coming to their land-based establishments.
One further issue that many Indian tribes have with legal online gambling in the United States is that it calls for all online casino operators to be taxed. And this is said to violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which states that Indian casino revenue is not subject to US taxation since much of the revenue’s put towards government-funded programs. Essentially, they feel that paying online gaming taxes would be a double taxation.