Dwanna Robertson: Dispelling a common myth about tribal gaming

The Pauma Casino is owned by the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians in Pauma Valley, California. Photo: I-5 Design & Manufacture

Has Indian gaming made every Indian rich? Dwanna L. Robertson, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, dispels a common myth about the $28 billion tribal casino industry:
The common myth about Indian Casino Riches goes a little something like this:

Every tribe has a casino in which every Indian has a job—if the Indian wants one. But why would the Indian want to work when every Indian gets lots and lots of money from the profits of the casino?

Here are the facts:

Not every tribe has a casino. In 2011, NIGC reported out of 566 federally recognized tribes (there are currently 567 federally recognized tribes), only 246 tribes operate 460 gaming facilities in 28 states. Thus, 324 tribes (57 percent) have no gaming operations. Indeed, the rural and unpopulated geographic locations of many Native nations discourage gaming.

Not every Indian has a job. As of the first half of 2013, Natives experienced unemployment at 11.3 percent—greater than the nation average of 6.9 percent. Many tribes operate gaming facilities primarily to generate employment. The total number of jobs by Indian gambling created nationwide is impressive: 628,000. But up to 75 percent of those jobs go to non-Indian employees.

Not every Indian gets money from casino profits.

Read More on the Story:
Dwanna L. Robertson: The Myth of Indian Casino Riches (Indian Country Media Network 4/19)