Thursday August 9,2012 : MINNESOTA TRIBE CONCERNED ABOUT INTERNET GAMBLING
Every member of the Shakopee tribe earns $84,000 a month from the sovereign nation's casino operations
Members of the Minnesota Shakopee tribe are among the wealthiest in the United States, each receiving $84,000 a month from the tribe's successful involvement in the land casino and resort business, the New York Times reported in an interesting article Wednesday.
The 480 members of the tribe can afford to send their children to private schools, drive top-end vehicles, enjoy expensive vacations and own up-market homes off-reservation, the newspaper reveals… but not all tribal casino operators have been as successful, and growing competition from new land casinos springing up, along with the threat of legalised online poker, is a major competitive concern.
Tribal spokesmen opined that the casino business is the only economic development tool that has ever worked on reservations, but in recent times it has come under growing competitive threat, raising fears that the good times may be coming to an end.
"The primary anxiety is competing casinos being hurriedly opened by states in pursuit of new revenue," The New York Times reports. "But more menacing, tribes say, is a sophisticated and growing movement to legalize Internet gambling under state laws that would give those states the potential power to regulate and tax online gambling even on reservations.
"Further, the current expansion of legalized gambling in the United States, and the prospect of more to come, could not have arrived at a worse moment for tribes, because after 25 years of booming profits, the tribal casino business has suddenly gone flat. The vast majority of tribes have not become rich. Instead, casinos have become a baseline economic necessity, lifting thousands out of poverty by serving as a primary source of income and employment."
The well-researched article goes on to identify the many new land casinos now appearing across the United States, and details fears that internet gambling could bring with it changed and less advantageous state or federal tax conditions.
Alan Meister, an economist who compiles tribal gambling data, told the newspaper that Minnesota’s 18 tribal casinos alone earned a combined $1.4 billion in 2010.
The Shakopee have not been mean with their gambling wealth; in 2010 the tribe made charitable donations totalling $28.5 million, and grants to less fortunate tribes have been generous.