Why is a Tribal State Compact important?
The business of gaming in Indian Country is both a legal and a political activity. Casino-style gaming in Indian Country, unlike any other Indian owned and operated business, is subject to regulation under the terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and by the terms of a Tribal-State Compact. The Compact establishes a system between tribes and states for the authorization of Class III gaming. At its best, a Compact should foster a tribal relationship with local government jurisdictions and enhance a tribe’s ability to acquire necessary services for the development of its gaming operation.
A Compact also affects business agreements with investors, consultants, manufactures, local governments, patrons and employees. For example, a tribe’s gaming resource providers must be cleared by the State in accordance with the California Compact. Patrons and employee protections must also be protected. Intergovernmental agreements must be reached regarding off-reservation impacts with local governments. Failure to address these issues can and should ultimately impact a tribe’s ability to comply with the terms of its Compact or ultimately achieve ratification of a new or amended Compact.
All tribes must have a compact with the state in order to conduct casino-style Class III gaming. Progressive and thoughtful solutions to both the legal and political issues raised by tribal gaming are best achieved in a comprehensive Compact. The development of a comprehensive Compact between a tribe and a state resolves jurisdictional and substantive disputes and recognizes with respect each entity’s sovereignty. A good Compact provides the significant benefit of the delivery of social services, an opportunity for tribal economic and government advancement and the ability of the state to manage shared scarce natural resources. A good compact can provide for cooperation and coordination with local governments rather than conflict.