A sports betting room at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where such wagers have long been legal. A new ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court opens the door for other states to do the same. Photo: Prayitno

Tribes seek a seat at table as states look into sports betting

With a landmark decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the books, tribes from California to Connecticut want to be sure they are at the table when it comes to sports betting.

In a news release, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association reminded state lawmakers that tribes were promised exclusivity to Class III games. That presumably includes sports betting.

"Legalization of sports betting should not become a back-door way to infringe upon that exclusivity," CNIGA Chairman Steve Stallings said.

But whether lawmakers can actually come up with a solution that satisfies tribes and other parties is a big question. In an interview with The New York Times, Stallings pointed out that they have been unable to do so on another major policy issue.

“If you can’t solve internet poker, I don’t know how you solve something like sports betting,” Stallings told the paper.

Indianz.Com on SoundCloud: Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association- U.S. Supreme Court - December 4, 2017

Connecticut is in a similar situation. Though lawmakers were able to authorize a gaming expansion bill for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe, it took them more than two years to get there and even then the landscape still hasn't been settled.

Still, the Mashantuckets are eager to work with the state. Chairman Rodney Butler already met with lawmakers and representatives of the governor, The Times reported.

“We have said, ‘We want to work with you,’” Butler told the paper of the initial discussions. “Let’s work out an arrangement.”


On May 14, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that some believed prevented states from legalizing sports betting. With that hurdle out of the way, states are free to authorize such games and a handful have already done so.

That means tribes would be able to offer the same types of games, according to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal law.

Read More on the Story:
Indian Tribes Dig In to Gain Their Share of Sports Betting (The New York Times May 21, 2018)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Bet on it: Discussions about more gambling (The Virginian-Pilot May 20, 2018)

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Murphy v. NCAA:
Syllabus | Opinion | Concurrence [Thomas] | Concurrence / Dissent [Breyer] | Dissent [Ginsburg]

Supreme Court Documents:
Oral Argument Transcript: Christie v. NCAA / New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. v. NCAA (December 4, 2017)

Related Stories:
Tribes continue to weigh impact of Supreme Court ruling on sports betting (May 18, 2018)
Oneida Nation already lining up sports betting after Supreme Court ruling (May 15, 2018)
Supreme Court opens the door for sports betting for states and for tribes (May 14, 2018)
Cronkite News: Supreme Court decision could open doors to legalized sports betting (May 2, 2018)
Supreme Court takes up sports betting case whose outcome could impact tribes (December 4, 2017)
Gaming group promotes tribal interests in Supreme Court sports betting case (September 5, 2017)
Indian Country warms up to legislation to repeal federal ban on sports betting (August 21, 2017)
National Indian Gaming Association clarifies position on sports betting coalition (August 8, 2017)
National Indian Gaming Association backs effort to legalize sports betting (August 1, 2017)

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