Casinos: Profit vs Progress

Essay by mmurgoCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.3

Native American Casinos produce monstrous revenues and create an enormous job market. Their influence on a community, however, is not necessarily positive. Venues which facilitate gambling are known to also foster alcoholism, depression, and drug use within their community. Additionally, Native Americans are not the main benefactors of the profits. Foreign millionaires, and investment firms swallow nearly all the profits. Finally, where are the kick backs to the community. Less than one-third of the states containing Native American casinos collect tax revenues from the businesses. Though the bright lights and entertainment may cloud some citizens' view, when do we, as law abiding, ethical Americans, draw the line on Native American gaming.

The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, was a bad idea from the start. Hoping to appease a poor and politically embarrassing minority and their liberal allies, congress in 1988 set parameters allowing American Indians to run casinos. Gambling would be the new buffalo for the impoverished tribes.

It has been over a decade since congress passed the act, and while a handful of Indians and investors have gotten rich, most natives have gotten poorer.

Foxwoods, the largest and most profitable casino in America, is owned and operated by the Pequot Indians of Connecticut. Nearly wiped out by English colonists in 1637, only two members lived on the 200 acre reservation in the 1970's. Today 450 tribe members (only marginally Pequot) reside there. To qualify for subsidized living on the Pequot reservation, you must prove only one-sixteenth Pequot blood, such as a great-great grandmother. Indians who qualify gain housing assistance, training and employment, free medical benefits, child care, part ownership of the casino, and annual cash incentives. Foxwoods grosses over $1 billion dollars annually, that is about $2 million per Pequot.

Adversely, to the small tribe of Pequots, large...