Tribes Slipping

Sports betting and mobile gaming demand flexibility

Sports betting deliberations in Arizona, Michigan and elsewhere are prompting debate over whether American Indians should begin moving away from federal Indian law and instead operate expanded gambling as commercial ventures, taxed and regulated by the states.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 allows tribes to operate Nevada-style casinos on Indian land held in trust status by the federal government.

Tribes Slipping IGRA permits indigenous communities to regulate casinos exempt from state taxes.

But IGRA is creating legal uncertainty over the ability of tribes to accept wagers from off Indian reservations, creating a potential obstacle to indigenous communities as gambling evolves from casino slot machines to internet and mobile wagering.

“There are very diverse opinions on mobile gaming,” says Navajo attorney Hilary Tompkins of Hogan Lovells LLP, former solicitor of the U.S.

Department of the Interior in the Obama administration.

Tribes Slipping “If you go off Indian lands, you operate outside the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

It would not be part of a compact under IGRA.

It would be tribes acting as commercial entities,” she says, taxed and regulated by the state.

Sports betting and mSports betting and mobilobil Tribes fear sports and online wagering will erode revenue from some 500 casinos and other gambling venues on Indian lands.

But the evolution appears unavoidable.

The sports betting business is regarded by experts as an expensive and risky endeavor, likely to generate only a slim profit margin.

But it is regarded as a valuable marketing tool in luring younger customers to casinos.

Sports betting profits can be dramatically improved with account and internet wagering from the convenience of a smartphone.

Roughly 70 percent of sports wagers in the European and New Jersey markets come from online bets.

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