Vice Squad
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Native Americans as Suppliers of Vice

The September/October edition of the recently founded magazine Legal Affairs
holds much of interest for vice policy enthusiasts, including this article
concerning Native American casinos. "Today 221 tribes operate 348 casinos
in 30 states, making more than $14 billion a year." (Those interested in
Native American gambling should also see this report prepared in the late
1990s for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.)

How did Native American tribes end up as major players in the gambling
industry? This was a case of almost accidental public policy. The genesis
was a 1987 Supreme Court decision that prevented states that allowed
legal gambling from outlawing gambling operations on tribal lands
within their borders. A year later, Congress passed the Indian Gaming
Regulatory Act, which regularized the growth of Native American gambling
but, contrary to the hopes of some of its supporters, did little to curtail
it. The growth of the Native American casino industry, in turn, increased
pressure in nearby states or jurisdictions with stricter gambling controls
to expand legalized gambling, to grab a share of the significant tax revenues
that legal gambling can generate.

Native American reservations are also big players in the tobacco market,
a condition driven primarily by their ability to avoid or evade the
significant excise taxes most states place on tobacco products. An attempt
by New York state to close the tax loophole is currently being challenged
by the Seneca Nation; Oklahoma recently entered into an agreement with the
Choctaw, Seminole, and Chickasaw nations that requires them to turn over
one-quarter of the state tax on their cigarette sales.

Labels: , , ,

Powered by Blogger