Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rebuilding Native Nations: The Casino

Chapter 8 of Rebuilding Native Nations deals largely with tribal relationships with privately owned businesses. I was somewhat surprised at the positive attitudes the authors had towards private businesses within a group where the government struggled so much financially and with its own enterprises. I really liked the point that this reading made that there needs to be a complete mindset shift within tribes. Tribal governments shouldn’t see private businesses simply as competitors to their own enterprises; rather, they should see private businesses as their own people working to the same goal: economic growth for the tribe. 

This sentiment reminded me of tribally owned casinos. I know there have been many stereotypes & some controversy at least within the ranks of non-native Americans to emerge from the prevalence of tribally owned casinos, but I wondered about attitudes within tribes towards these casinos, specifically whether tribal governments and their citizens shared positive opinions. I know from Maggie’s presentation that for the Tohono O’odham specifically, casino owners are among the largest contributors to their community college (TOCC). 

Clearly, tribally owned casinos tend to do well financially and from the TOCC example, they can positively impact their communities, but I wonder about how increased opportunities for gambling could impact the group, and what the economic costs could be for the tribe at large.

1 comment:

  1. Good questions. There is a growing literature on the impacts, positive and negative, of tribal casinos. I recommend starting with the article by Randy Akee,Jonathon Taylor and Katherine Spilde, "The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and Its Effects on American Indian Economic Development", Journal of Economic perspectives. 2015.

    The Journal of Economic Perspectives, often called JEP, is a great source in general for broad overviews of particular economic research topics. The articles tend to be less technical, written to be accessible to non economists with minimal econometric jargon.