The Indian gaming industry in the United States is estimated to be around $28 billion in 2015 and will continue to grow as a number of tribes continue to open new casinos and expand existing ones on their reservations. This billion dollar casino industry is a money-making machine that has posed significant challenges for the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) who has the responsibility for ensuring that the sovereign Indian tribes conform to the federal regulations.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a report after conducting an in-depth study and analysis on the Indian gaming industry and highlighted the fact that there are a number of serious concerns with Indian casinos. The report stated that corruption, money-laundering, racketeering and possible mismanagement were some of the biggest threats to the casino and law enforcement.
The report also asked the NIGC to step up its efforts to ensure that tribes are given more training and technical assistance to form robust policies at casinos and ensure that casinos employees are well equipped to spot criminal activity.
The GAO report stated “The commission has more recently emphasized actions that encourage voluntary resolution of compliance issues, including providing training and technical assistance and alerting tribes of potential compliance issues using letters of concern. However, the effectiveness of these two approaches is unclear. The commission has limited performance measures that assess outcomes achieved. With such additional measures, the commission would be better positioned to assess the effectiveness of its training and technical assistance”.
The GAO report also confirmed that there are some states like Arizona which have a very strong system in place which makes it difficult for criminal activity to be conducted. The report highlighted the fact that Arizona has twenty three casinos that are run by sixteen Native American tribes. The report states that these 23 Indian casinos are monitored by 100 Arizona Department of Gaming regulators making it difficult for an illegal activity to be conducted.
The report encouraged the NIGC to continue to be proactive to ensure that the Indian gaming industry follows robust security policies and remains free from corruption.