Tribal Gaming is All About Money and Power


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alifornia Indian tribes currently have a legal monopoly on casino gambling in this state. This is a $9 billion-a-year industry.

This all started after Southern California’s Cabazon tribe prevailed in a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision. Tribes moved from bingo parlors in tents to HUGE casino resorts, despite opposition from other gambling interests, such as horse racing tracks, cardrooms and even Las Vegas casinos.

And as money poured into their new casinos, which grew larger and more elaborate, they were able to hire top-drawer legal and political talent, and become big-time players in California’s own political casino, Sacramento.

They opened casinos with games of dubious legality such as slot machines and then started fending off efforts by state authorities to crack down long enough to use their gambling profits on ballot measures to legalize what they were already doing.


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