1. Native American Tribes and Sports Gambling 
  2. Benefits of Legalizing Sports Gambling for Native American Tribes 
  3. Challenges of Legalizing Sports Gambling for Native American Tribes 
  4. Potential Solutions to Overcome Those Challenges 
  5. Key Points and Conclusions about Legalizing Sports Gambling for Native American Tribes

For centuries, gambling has been the primary source of income for hundreds of Native American tribes. However, in recent years the swift expansion of sports betting and online gaming is beginning to impede this long-standing economic lifeline throughout many regions across America. As an example, a lucrative deal was struck between Florida’s powerful Seminole tribe who aimed to provide exclusive sports betting within their state; however it was abruptly halted by a lawsuit filed by casino corporations.

Native American Tribes and Sports Gambling 

Last year, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s tribe experienced a dramatic plunge in their gambling revenue due to turmoil within the online betting industry. Meanwhile, Arizona tribes who had relied heavily on these profits are now scraping for leftovers as traditional casinos and professional teams monopolize 95 percent of this recently developed sports-betting market which will be showcased during Sunday’s Super Bowl at Glendale where spectators will have an opportunity to place bets. The leader from one particular tribe laments that he may need to ration food and water supplies for his financially deficient citizens.

President Reagan made it hard for Native American tribes to get money. So, the Seminole tribe in Florida opened a bingo hall in the early 1980s. A court then said that tribes could do their own 1xbet gambling activities on their lands. This caused many more tribal casinos to open and it made almost $40 billion from 243 different tribes in 29 states.


In 2018, the Supreme Court declared a federal law that prohibited majority of sports betting in Nevada to be unconstitutional. Thus, 36 states have since authorized their citizens to bet on sports and 22 amongst them having tribal gambling included. Many websites like DraftKings 1xBet online gambling games and FanDuel, as well as companies like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International, are trying to make it easier to gamble. They are spending a lot of money on political campaigns by giving out money or gifts. They also give information to state governments so they can get better deals from the government.

As large gambling companies enter the arena, some tribes are experiencing a decline in revenue. In other situations, tribes are losing their exclusive ability to capitalize on the expected growth of online gaming.


“The private sector has always been eager for tribal resources,” declared W. Ron Allen, president of Washington Indian Gaming Association and former head of National Congress of American Indians. “Therefore they’re developing methods to pressure out Native Americans”.

In 1988, the government passed a law that allowed Native American tribes to have gambling activities on their land. Michigan made an agreement with seven tribes in 1993. The agreement said that the tribes could have special games of chance like electronic games.

Benefits of Legalizing Sports Gambling for Native American Tribes

The Hannahville tribe and its 543 members leveraged casino revenues to become less reliant on government grants. The data shows that the median household income of $40,000 is higher than many other households in Michigan. People have twice tried to stop gambling in Michigan but it continues to grow.

In 2019, many companies helped the government to make online sports betting and casino-style games like slots and blackjack legal. Native American tribes could play these games too, but they had to follow different rules than other people.

Scott Herioux is the Chief Financial Officer for Hannahville

He said in an interview at their Island Resort and Casino – which is about 100 miles north of Green Bay, Wisconsin – that small tribal groups are having a difficult time. He said if the tribe was relying on slot machines for money, then they have been affected a lot.


When Michigan tribes, like the Hannahville tribe, were allowed to have sports betting businesses, many chose to work with experienced companies that knew how to market and make software for wagering. These companies could help take away some of the risk. Working with these experienced companies has been very successful and rewarding!

The Hannahville tribe and TwinSpires were working together. But in February, TwinSpires said they could not be successful in such a tough market. Tony Mancilla was surprised and said it felt like they had their ‘prom dress on but no date’. This ended their partnership with no money to be made.

Challenges of Legalizing Sports Gambling for Native American Tribes 

Hannahville stopped letting people bet online. They got new partners like 1xBet and Sports Illustrated to help them start betting again. But they didn’t let people bet on other things online, and that made their profits go down from $16.7 million in 2021 to only $5.8 million in 2022. That’s a drop of 12%.

Gambling might not be around forever in North Dakota

So the tribe is looking for other ways to make money, like golf courses and real estate. The state only lets people play slot machines and some table games at 11 tribal casinos, which makes less money than states like Nevada. It brings in about $250 million each year for five tribes.


In 2017, places like bars and gas stations got new machines called pull tab machines. They look like slot machines! In the last year, these machines have made $182 million dollars! Even more than the slot machines at tribal casinos. This has changed 1xbet gambling in a big way and gives people lots of new chances to win money.

The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation were hit really hard

They lost 70% of their money and jobs. Chairman Fox said it was not funny. But then the Supreme Court allowed sports betting which could help them get back what they lost from slot machines.

The Tribal Compact was about to end. This meant that the tribes would need a new agreement for their casinos to stay open. Governor Doug Burgum offered the tribes a deal – they could offer sports betting and online gambling, but only within tribal lands. Everyone was surprised by this suggestion.


At the same time, some politicians suggested that companies should be allowed to provide sports betting in North Dakota if people vote for it. They wanted this to happen because towns already have other ways to make money.

Potential Solutions to Overcome Those Challenges 

Representative James M. Kasper from Fargo says that Native American tribes are the only ones with buildings like casinos where people can stay overnight, eat dinner, and have drinks. If a new law passes, these tribes will probably get less customers than before.

Governor Doug Ducey from Arizona wanted to make an agreement

It was supported by the state’s sports teams. This agreement would let commercial casinos and tribes open sports books and accept bets from people on their phones. The larger tribes said yes because they could offer more games like baccarat, craps, and roulette in their resorts which were for tourists visiting the area. With the new compact in place from 2003 onward, gambling is no longer limited to just 22 tribes in Arizona.

Jeremy Kudon, a lobbyist at the global law firm Orrick spearheaded an effort on behalf of some of the most significant sports betting platforms and professional sports leagues to help design Arizona’s legislative deal. An integral part of his strategy was striving for consensus among all parties involved.


In April 2021, Governor Ducey held a special event at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The event celebrated art by American Indians. This event was important because it made it possible for Arizona to have legal sports betting before the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Big sports teams were given special permission to do their activities

16 tribes had to compete for 10 spots. They had to give $100,000 and look at partners before they could even start trying to get customers. It was hard because the big leagues already started early and worked with famous casinos across America.

Charlene D. Jackson used to be a lawyer for some tribes and then she became a judge. She said sadly, “We were left behind.” Now, there are five big companies that do sports betting in Arizona. They are FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, and Penn Entertainment (Barstool). On Sunday during the Super Bowl people can bet at the close by BetMGM sports book which opened last September.


The San Juan Southern Paiutes have more customers since they made a deal. Many people are visiting their casinos because of the new things to do there. But, some businesses are losing money because tax money is not as high as expected.

The Paiutes get money from leasing out 613 slot machines

They have tried to get money in other ways, but it has not worked yet. This could be because of the land disputes between them and the Navajos.

In Arizona, something called the “scramble” caused the Paiute tribe to end a deal that brought them up to seven million dollars each year. They got a new partner, Betway from Britain, but laws stopped them from talking about it. This change made their leader Johnny Lehi Jr., worry about having enough food and water for their 300 members who do not have running water or electricity.

Julia Kolsrud, the Paiute’s general counsel, expressed her concerns: “The tribe feels neglected.”

Yet a stark contrast is seen between the Seminole Nation and its past. A place that used to be a bingo hall is now the amazing Guitar Hotel. It is located outside Miami in an area called Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. The government calls it a “thriving self-governing community” and each tribal member earns $128,000 every year!

The Seminoles worked hard to make it possible for people to bet on sports. In April 2021, they made an agreement with Governor Ron DeSantis that gave them exclusive rights in Florida to do this online. 

To honor their agreement, they will pay the state at least $2.5 billion over five years. This is great because both sides can benefit!

Mr. Kudon wanted to launch his own sports-betting platforms in Florida, but the compact would have stopped him. He and DraftKings worked hard to convince the state legislature and government not to approve the compact. If they didn’t approve it, Mr. Kudon’s plan could happen.

Some people did not want the tribe to have digital betting in the state

They said this was against a law from 1988 that said bets had to be placed on Native American land. They wanted to know if it was okay if people from different parts of the state made bets but the computers were on Tribal ground.

DraftKings and Mr. Kudon thought it did not matter who took the bets in Florida. This was different from what they said before in New York, where they said it was okay to accept bets as long as the servers were approved by the state. 

They also said that gambling must happen in certain places that were allowed by the state rules

Despite some skepticism from Florida lawmakers, Mr. Kudon and his team contended that the rationale they provided in New York was not applicable for the Seminoles since their compact needed to abide by federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act rather than state laws of New York.

“It is apparent that we are dealing with two separate legal structures,” asserted Mr. Kudon in a statement, “one interpreting an individual state constitution while the other comprising of a vast federal law.”

The legislators in Florida spent a lot of time talking and deciding. In the end, they allowed the Seminoles to offer sports 1xbet gambling both on-site and online. But they could not offer many different kinds of online casino games.

Key Points and Conclusions about Legalizing Sports Gambling for Native American Tribes

In November 2021, they initiated virtual sports betting – however the dispute concerning servers re-emerged. Two prominent smaller casinos lodged a suit with similar claims as those raised by DraftKings and Mr. Kudon in Florida previously; namely, claiming that server placement was paramount regardless of where gamblers were located geographically. The Seminoles attempted using their successful New York approach – which considers server location rather than punters’ locations – yet this attempt failed them too.

The judge discarded the reasoning behind the compact, rendering it null

Unfortunately for the Seminoles, their nascent venture into sports betting was cut short after a mere three weeks; however, they have lodged an appeal and no legal action has yet been taken against New York’s law.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is thinking about changing the rules to let Native American tribes offer online 1xbet gambling. But it is not sure if it will help the Seminole tribe or other tribes who do not want the same thing to happen to them.

In Washington State, a company and Native American tribes are fighting over who should get to control sports betting. The company wants to make more money by allowing people to play online games like baccarat, blackjack and slots. We will have to wait and see who wins this fight.

Six states are allowing people to play games on their phones

These states are Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Native American tribes need to join in this movement or they will be left behind. John T. Holden from Oklahoma State University said that if the tribes don’t do this then their industry may not last for much longer – maybe 20 or 30 years from now.