The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians debuted sports betting at its gaming facilities in Mississippi on August 30, 2018. Photo: MBCI

Tribes move slowly when it comes to sports betting industry

A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision opened the door for sports betting but tribes aren't rushing to join the industry.

Since the May 2018 ruling, only two tribes have opened sports books at their facilities. And of numerous tribes contacted by reporter Dave Palermo, only a handful expressed interest in the doing the same.

“I think we’re going to let it be,” one tribal casino manager in South Dakota told Palermo for a story in Global Gaming Magazine, reflecting what appears to be the prevailing mood across Indian Country.

One explanation for the situation is cost. John Repa, the president of Hospitality and Gaming Solutions, said it takes a significant investment to add a sports book to a casino or reconfigure existing space for one.

“It’s moving very slow because of capital constraints and budget constraints,” Repa told Palermo. “The return on a sports book isn’t good. The margins are thin.”

So far, the Pueblo of Santa Ana in New Mexico and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Mississippi offer live sports betting operations. The Oneida Nation is moving forward with plans for one in New York while the Seneca Nation is tentatively interested, The Buffalo News reported.

In North Dakota, the Spirit Lake Nation hopes to open a sport book, so long as tribal citizens approve a referendum to sell liquor their casino, Palermo reported. And in neighboring South Dakota, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is waiting on state lawmakers to take action.

The Navajo Nation is also interested, but the tribe too is waiting for further movement on Class III gaming compact negotiations in Arizona and on regulatory action in New Mexico, Palermo reported.

Read More on the Story
One Size Does NOT Fit All (Global Gaming Magazine January 27, 2019)
Seneca Nation weighs sports betting for its Western New York casinos (The Buffalo News January 29, 2019)
State senator introduces bill to allow sports betting in Arizona (KTAR January 29, 2019)

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

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)

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