What picture comes into your mind when you think of a Native run casino?
It may come as a surprise to many people that Native American casinos do not rake in the big money. Unfortunately there is a popular myth in American society today that Native casinos are making a substantial amount of capital. To become a more culturally educated society it is important that we debunk these cultural stereotypes and start working from a foundation of education and compassion.
The first thing that we should all know is that Native people hold the highest poverty rate in the United States. It is necessary for Natives to earn money to support their tribal economies. Casinos on Native land are not taxed by the federal government and for this reason they are a productive means of boosting the local tribal economy. It is also important we are aware that casinos are not the only way Native people make money.
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Let us learn the basic facts about tribal casinos:
Not all tribes have casinos. Native Americans are not a homogeneous group. Each tribe has a choice on how they want to run their tribal economy. Not all tribes choose to run casinos.
Tribes use casino money to pay for much needed accommodations. Most of the money earned from tribal casinos goes to benefit community accommodations such as tribal housing, tribal health care, and tribal scholarships.
It is a popular belief that tribal members benefit directly from casino earnings. The truth is that not all casinos make enough money for the tribe to be able to allocate the earnings among their members.
Some tribes do make enough casino earnings to benefit their tribal members. This money is often called per capita and is distributed on a semi-regular basis to enrolled tribal members. However, most tribes do not make enough casino earnings for this per capita to be substantial. In many tribes, members receive per capita checks as small as fifty dollars a month (or even less).
There are a few tribal casinos that make substantial earnings. These casinos are few. In this case it is typical for the tribe to set up a trust fund for its enrolled members. Once they turn eighteen the money is made available to them. It is not a million dollars by any means. They may make a nice living but these earnings, in no way, make them rich
Tribal casinos provide jobs to tribal members and boost the tribal economy. This makes tribal members less likely to live in poverty and less likely to require government assistance which in turn benefits all American tax payers.
Now that you have this information you can use it to make your own well educated decisions about tribal casinos. Help others learn the truth and we can live in a society that is more tolerant and accepting of others.