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Which Games Can You Find in a Tribal Casino?

Tribal casinos operate under rules that differ from other casinos located on non-reservation property. Therefore, the games you can expect to play at one might not be at the other.

Here is a look at tribal casinos, what distinguishes them from other operations, and which games they offer:

A brief history

1988’s Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) paved the way for tribal casinos to commence operations. The industry would help native tribes to generate much-needed revenue to provide support, resources, and infrastructure on their reservations. Through this economic development, tribal casinos would provide socio-economic upliftment for a historically disadvantaged population demographic.

Many tribal casinos opened after this legislation was enacted, and several have moved online as some states, such as Michigan, legalized online gambling. Existing tribal casinos have successfully bid to become licensed MI online casino operators.

Tribal casino games

While Native American reservations are regarded as sovereign land, the IGRA imposes certain restrictions and regulations on what games tribal casinos may offer. Depending on their license terms and conditions, tribal casinos offer three game classes. Operators must apply for casino licenses that permit them to provide each game class.

While many tribal casinos offer Class 1 games, they are not major drawcards for visitors. Class 1 games come from Native American traditional games, ceremonies, and rituals. These social games have minimal prizes for wins and remain the exclusive province of the tribal casino, falling outside the IGRA’s ambit.

Class 2 games include bingo, pull-tab games, and other games of chance played against other players, never against the house or a player acting as the bank. This category does not include slot machines or any electronic form of gambling games. Tribal casinos offer these games with oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) under IGRA’s auspices. Players can make money while playing, although the winnings are seldom substantial.

Class 3 games are the gold standard of casino games for those wanting to get rich from gambling, including slots, video poker, and table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. These are the most lucrative games, and most tribal casinos get permission to offer them. Tribal casinos wishing to offer these games need to meet several requirements from state authorities. The revenues generated from Class 3 games are subject to state taxes, as authorities must receive a cut of a casino’s income from such games.

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