Native Casinos

native casinos

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2016 will see the acclaimed film?The Revenant?hoping to collect a plethora of film awards (and might perhaps finally get Leonardo DiCaprio his coveted Oscar). The story, which follows famed fur trapper Hugh Glass in the wilds of North America, is a classic survival tale, which also takes a look at the indigenous groups invested in areas like the Louisiana Purchase territory in the nineteenth century.

One of these groups were the?Arikara?tribe, whose indigenous lands in the forests of South Dakota and Montana are where the film was set. While we all know what happened to the European settlers in the Americas, what happened to this exploited tribe after the story ends?

The?Arikara?now form one of the federally recognized ‘Three Affiliated Tribes’ in North Dakota, and currently live in the Fort Berthold Reservation. They, like many other Native American tribes, have gone into the gaming industry and founded the 4 Bears Casino in New Town, ND. To date there are 326 Indian reservations with 566 federally recognized tribes.

Casinos?have played an important part in enabling tribes to get an income. When their reservations lie in certain states, they are able to take advantage of tax breaks in order to maximise their profits.?Unibet?have done a study to coincide with?The Revenant?s?Oscars presence, looking at the Native American gaming industry, and its unusual place in the US economy.

The assumption with Indian casinos is that it is solely owned by a tribe, and in some cases this is true, the IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory act) stipulates that no entity other than a tribe may possess an ownership interest, but there are layers of lenders. For example, the Mohegan Sun recently refinanced $1 billion in debt. Foxwoods is working to refinance its $2.3 billion. Casinos are an important revenue stream for Tribes but if you have no money to begin with then you need to be lent it, and this is where governments and private firms can exploit and take chunks of revenue away from the tribes without owning the Casino outright.

Many outside entities therefore have stakes in casinos owned by Indians, such as casino giant Caesars. The most notable co-owner was prospective Presidential nominee Donald Trump. In 2001 he joined with Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians to run their Spotlight 29 casino. The name was changed to Trump 29 Casino. This partnership failed in 2006 and Trump bailed from the casino.

Take a look at the infographic and find out where the tribes of the Revenant now dwell!

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