The Future of Indian Gaming and Casinos in New York State
Barrett P. Brenton, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Since the passage of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, a fifteen billion dollar a year industry has emerged with over 300 Indian-run casinos across the U.S. In New York State the Oneida, Seneca, and St. Regis Mohawk Nations have been the first tribes to covet gaming compacts and casino operations. Three additional casinos have been approved for the Catskills region of upstate NY, but without any specific tribal designation. This has created an unprecedented situation in which Indian Nations from across the country with historic ties to the region are now competing for a state gaming compact. Current front runners include the St. Regis Mohawk, the Cayuga, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation. Although the lure of new found wealth has led to substantial economic development and related benefits for many tribes, a number of key fundamental issues have emerged concerning Indian sovereignty, self-determination, treaties, taxation, traditional culture, impacts on the environment, and relations with non-Indian communities. This paper will address these concerns by presenting the results of ongoing research on the impact of Indian gaming in New York State.
This research was supported in part by a St. John’s University Summer Support of Research Award.