Vice Squad
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
McCain Rushes In Where Supremes Fear to Tread

How do you know when the chairman of the US Senate's Indian Affairs Committee is launching an attack on Indian gaming? "'I don't want this hearing to be viewed as some attack on Indian gaming,' [Senator John] McCain said."

One of the main issues, it seems, is that bingo machines have evolved to where they look and act a lot like slot machines. That is a problem for states where Indian casinos are permitted to operate bingo machines, but not slot machines. And although it is not mentioned in the linked article, it is also a problem in states where Indian casinos are permitted to operate slot machines along with bingo machines. Why? You will be surprised to learn that there is a revenue angle. The pacts that such casinos sign with the states often include a provision whereby the tribes pay a per-slot-fee to the state. Federal appellate courts have ruled that bingo machines are not slot machines, and the Supreme Court has not taken up appeals -- so state gambling revenue is on the line.

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