Being one of the wealthiest people in the US, each receiveing $84,000 a month from the tribe’s land casino and resort business, it’s no wonder the 480 members of the Minnesota Shakopee tribe are so concerned with the growing competition from new land casinos and now even the potential legalization of online poker.
It has recently been stated by tribal spokesmen that the casino business is the only economic development reservations have ever seen, adding that these days it’s getting ever so hard to maintain competitiveness, which may mean the good times may soon be over.
According to a report in the New York Times, "The primary anxiety is competing casinos being hurriedly opened by states in pursuit of new revenue. But more menacing, tribes say, is a sophisticated and growing movement to legalize Internet gambling under state laws that would give those states the potential power to regulate and tax online gambling even on reservations.
"Further, the current expansion of legalized gambling in the United States, and the prospect of more to come, could not have arrived at a worse moment for tribes, because after 25 years of booming profits, the tribal casino business has suddenly gone flat. The vast majority of tribes have not become rich. Instead, casinos have become a baseline economic necessity, lifting thousands out of poverty by serving as a primary source of income and employment."
In the opinion of Alan Meister, an economist who compiles tribal gambling data, Minnesota’s 18 tribal casinos alone earned a combined $1.4 billion in 2010.
It’s also worth noting that a decrease in the Shakopee earnings would affect more than just their families, having in mind that only in 2010 the tribe made charitable donations of $28.5 million, and numerous grants to less fortunate tribes.