FACTS: INDIAN CASINOS

Indian casino revenue for 2004 was $18.5 billion.

Over 400 Indian casinos are operating in the U.S.

The National Indian Gaming Commission only has 78 people to police these Indian casinos versus 439 people in Nevada to oversee 360 gambling establishments.

Indian casinos and Native Americans living on reservations are not required to pay state taxes as long as they make their money on tribal lands. The federal government can tax individual Indians, but not tribal government revenues.

Sovereign status exempts tribal members from paying state income tax if they live and work on the reservation, but they still must pay federal income tax.

The biggest impact for tribal members and for the tribe at large is that their land can be placed in trust, meaning that it is not subject to property tax.

The U.S. government entered into treaties with Indians, agreed not to tax them or commercial enterprises established in the reservations, and exempted them from many federal and state laws (e.g., building codes) that were enforced against all other reside.

Tribes, enriched by casino profits, are among the nation's fastest-growing contributors, pumping more than $7 million into federal campaigns in last year's (2004) elections.

Indian gambling grew eight times faster than non-Indian casino gambling.

Most Indian casinos do not disclose their casino revenue.

Indian tribes have submitted 11 applications (to the BIA) for off-reservation gaming in New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, California and Oregon.

The poverty rate is 24.7 percent among gaming Indian tribes and 33 percent for non-gaming tribes, according to the 2000 Census.

Indian veterans are twice as likely to exhibit signs of pathological gambling than Hispanic veterans and the U.S. population as a whole. A study found 9.8% of Indian veterans had gambling problems owing to higher exposure to legal gambling in American Indian communities.

California, with its 109 federally recognized Indian tribes and 57 casinos, has more tribal casinos than any other state earning an estimated $6 billion a year.

Rather, the "winners" are oftentimes savvy, non-Indian investors, large public casino-operating companies that manage operations for the tribes. A Malaysian billionaire, who bankrolled Foxwoods Casino gets 10 percent of its net income.

10.7.05