American Indians and Gambling

The bible says that a bet involves a fool and a thief; however, the American Indians have utilized gambling to propel themselves through the lower stages of the economy. Gambling is a large source of revenue for these seemingly downtrodden people, and it provides the means to sustain a private lifestyle. The American Indians have no doubt suffered in current times due to the egregious actions of our forefathers. The residual effects have led to a perpetual sense of uniform worthlessness. There is a gamut of issues that challenge the economic state of the people; however, cash seems to be abundant to the very small population. Tribe leaders have conducted themselves in suspicious manner; private jets and multiple mansions are just a few of their trophies. The question to ask is what amount of money is generated in revenue from American Indian casinos, and what percentage of the earnings before interest, tax, and expense (minus depreciation and amortization) is distributed to the people. In this paper I will attempt to describe the Seminole Indians economic state; particularly gambling as it relates to corruption, destruction, and minority benefits. This paper will describe American Indian gambling on a large scale; subsequently, I will reduce the scope to the aforementioned tribe group.
The Seminoles are charged with enlightenment as it pertains to financial prowess. 1979 marked the genesis of what has now become a multimillion dollar industry; highly coveted and remarkably sustainable. This origin is plagued with court cases that attempted to shut this apparently harmless bingo center down. In 1981 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Seminoles; the hall has since grown astronomically in every way shape or form. This unprecedented shift in economic status earned the attention of other Indians on reservations across the United States. The world had changed and would not regress back to the way it was prior to settlers’ arrival by any means. It is important to note that it was the Seminoles that provided the catalyst here; subsequently, a minute version of the fall of man would occur.
The growth of the industry led to the creation of multiple committees that created and enforced regulatory acts: National Indian Gaming Association; National Indian Gaming Commission; Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; United States Department of Interior; United States Department of Justice; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Office of Indian Gaming. These agencies and regulatory acts work in synergy to monitor the privately held and operated American Indian casino and gaming industry. There have been numerous occasions of money laundering, obscene dividends, biased winnings systems, illegal operations, and overall immoral behavior.
In 1994 the Indian gaming industry was estimated to generate $1.5 billion dollars in revenue; over $500 million of that industry is strictly from Seminole casino operations. This revenue is not taxed by the United States government, creating an unusual cash flow scenario that is coupled with greed. Adam Smith postulated that individuals will elect to operate in an industry that damages members of society in some aspect, in exchange for a growth in personal wealth. According to SPtimes, the Seminole Indians currently boast four major casinos on their reservations in Florida; collectively they account for $497 million in revenue back in the fiscal year of 1997. The estimated profit at that time was $110 million dollars; creating a margin of approximately 23%. $60 million (54%) of that profit is allocated towards compensating higher level management alone. The remaining $40 million is dispersed to tribe members in the form of dividends. The dividend has moved up and down over the years; however, the $18,000 dollar dividend is not explained by the promulgated financial data. Howard Tommie pioneered the financial revolution within the Seminole community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1979. What began as a high risk bingo company grew by adding video slot machines, electronic games, and more complex gambling operations. At the time Sptimes wrote their article, over 184 tribes in 28 states have immersed themselves into the dark but profitable industry. James Billie took over Tommie’s position as Chairman and lead representative of the Seminoles. While the dividend has increased from $400 to over $18,000 (a multiplier of 45x) it has not stopped the leaders of the tribe from paying rewarding themselves with a expensive material goods that cannot be explained from the financials that I have researched.
In summation, gambling as it exists today is a result of the nature of man. Since the fall, we have all been susceptible to greed at some point in time. The Navy Seals say that the needs of the few will never outweigh the needs of the many: The Seminole representatives have forgotten what they once stood for. The tribal members have been gifted with sustainable self reliance; however, the settlers who drove them out of their homes and onto reservations left an overwhelming impression on the people. Greed has corrupted the descendants of a once proud people. The benefits to the tribe are limited because of the nature of the individuals representing them. The very industry that keeps them out of poverty is the same industry that has led to a dimmer future for their children.


This article described the path of an individual at gaming institutions. The information provided a unique and personal view of the gaming industry from the eyes of a Native American.
This Wikipedia article primarily discussed the aspects of American Indian gaming: regulations; history; financials; implications. The information was used to list and explain some of the agencies that were created because of industry growth.
This site is rather unique because it provides information about the various American Indian casinos that exist today. In addition to the aforementioned function, the site also lists regulatory agencies that govern the operations of the gaming institutions on reservations.
This paper analyzed the politics of gaming on Indian reservations. The writer gives a general overview of gambling and describes the genesis of American Indian gambling.
This website provided some of the major regulating bodies within the American Indian nation. Many of the acts and rules were found here and explained why the gaming industry behaves the way it does. This article was idiosyncratic to Minnesota; however, it had useful information for the gaming industry.
This source was a snapshot of jpmorgans financial statements. These documents are all submitted to the securities and exchange commission; subsequently, they provide guidance for the financial analysis of the Seminole Indian capital structure.
This excerpt discussed Adam West’s invisible hand theory. The article provided insight that was necessary to write this essay because it explained many theories of why people behave in certain manners.
This was a youtube video that was briefly used to describe the financials of the Seminole casinos. The video has many financial ratios and statistics that can be used to forecast growth and calculate a valuation.
9. 10, May. "Seminole Tribe of Florida - History." Seminole Tribe of Florida - The Official Home of the Florida - Seminole Indians. Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <>.
This site provided the bulk of the information for the Seminole project. Extensive research was conducted through the various links. The site had numerous articles that described the culture, past, future, timeline, and major details that comprise the Seminole library.
This file described the history of the Seminole Indians. The gambling industry was described in relation to the gaming industry today.
11. Wilkinson, Jerry. "SEMINOLE INDIANS." Florida Keys History Museum. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. <>.
This article just describes some of the major historical events that have taken place throughout the Seminole timeline. Some of the displacements are correlated with behavior that is displayed by the tribe leaders today.
12. Hafenbrack, Josh. "Seminole Tribe Has Begun Charging the State Tax on Cigarettes for the First Time since the State Imposed It 66 Years Ago, Coinciding with Florida's $1-a-pack Hike That Took Effect July 1. - South Florida" South Florida - Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Breaking News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, Hurricane Coverage, Restaurants, Jobs, Real Estate, Classifieds and Consumer Help - South Florida Tallahasse Bureau, 13 July 2009. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. <,0,3680443.story>.
This article describes the cigarette industry on the Seminole reservations. The article discusses some of the tax benefits that the state would receive from the imposed tax, in addition to the process used to escape paying the taxes on a personal basis.
13. "Seminole." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. <>.
Wikipedia gave a brief overview of the Seminoles in a holistic sense. Some of their idiosyncrasies are explained, as well as some of their regulatory bodies.
14. "Religion and Expressive Culture - Seminole." Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 13 Apr. 2011. <>.
This article gives a brief description of some of the religious tendencies of the Seminole Tribe. It provides a better understanding of their philosophy that is correlated with their economic status.
15. Goldstein, Brad, and Jeff Testerman. "Seminole Gambling." Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <>.
This article describes the Seminole community as it pertains to gaming. The elected officials have conducted some operations that are extremely questionable. The newspaper gives a deeper look at the financials of the industy.
This website provided files that talked about disputes that were taking place in the casino industry. The site also lists current events that are deemed important to operations.
This article talks about the efforts to develop a large portion of land for a reservation. Primary concerns relate to the development of casinos on the land, which is highly frowned upon by the local government.
This article talks about the success of Indian reservations that have used gambling as a source of revenue. The article also raises and addresses concerns from the people and stakeholders of the gambling nation.
This article discusses the different political sides and arguments in California. The gaming industry is creating an overwhelming amount of money that is hard to ignore for this state because it is so far in debt.
This article is a description of the expansion of the gambling industry to northern Florida. The justification of the position is justified by surrounding companies and their success