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Jobs and Impact
Minnesota Indian Gaming means $2.75 billion in economic impact, 41,700 jobs and $150 million in healthcare benefits....and that's just for starters. Learn why tribal gaming is so important to Minnesota's economy, especially in rural casino counties.
Progress for Native People
Gaming has made a huge difference for Native families in Minnesota. Learn more about how the tribes allocate resources to help their communities, and where the most pressing unmet needs still persist.
Minnesota tribes were the first in the nation to negotiate and sign gaming compacts with a state government. Then-Governor Rudy Perpich wanted to create jobs in rural Minnesota, and he believed tribal gaming would be a boon to disadvantaged rural communities. However, the state did not want full-blown Las Vegas-style casinos.
Ultimately, the tribes agreed to limit their casinos to video games of chance (slots) and blackjack. Both parties agreed that the compacts
should be effective in perpetuity. This assured the state that the scope of gaming at tribal casinos would never expand with the addition of Vegas- style games like keno, craps, roulette and baccarat.
For the tribes, the perpetual compacts meant that they would never be held hostage to changing political winds. They could begin rebuilding their communities with an eye to the long-term future.
At least nine other states have compacts without termination dates, including Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The Minnesota compacts also establish negotiating procedures; regulatory standards and powers; licensing requirements; technical specifications for all games; financial reporting requirements; and remedies for violation of the agreements.
Minnesota's tribal-state compacts may not be "re-opened" or renegotiated unless both sides agree to do so. However, technical amendments have been made to update equipment specifications and other details with agreement from both parties.
Copies of the compacts and technical amendments are available on the web site of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Inspect without notice any premises or records related to slot operations;
Test and approve all slot machines, and remove non-compliant with compact standards;
Prohibit the purchase of slot machines from unlicensed vendors;
Require retention of CPA to audit books and records of slot operations;
Gain access to accountant work papers;
Review all sources of slot revenue, expenses and operational costs to confirm that gambling proceeds are going to tribe as required by federal law;
Require background checks before licensure of key gaming management employees;
Deny licensure to management companies considered a threat to public interest;
Regulate rules of play for blackjack and payouts for video slot machines;
Specify staffing and surveillance requirements for blackjack;
Impose and collect specified fees to reimburse state for enforcement costs.
Through the compact negotiation process, tribal governments have granted the State of Minnesota substantial powers to regulate gaming at Indian casinos. The compacts allow the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to:
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) prohibits states from taxing tribal casino revenues, but it allows tribes to negotiate payments to state and local governments for services provided. Under the compacts, Minnesota tribes pay the state a fixed fee to cover
enforcement costs. Tribes also pay for each background check for key employees. Many tribes also contract with local jurisdictions for police, fire and emergency services.
There are no other provisions in the Minnesota compacts for payments to the state from gaming revenues.
In the early days of Indian gaming in Minnesota, a few tribes retained management companies to operate their facilities. Today, however, all of Minnesota's tribal governments operate their own casinos with no outside management involvement. Some tribal governments assume direct responsibility for casino management, while other tribes have created separate tribal entities such as gaming commissions to provide regulatory oversight. Both approaches are permitted under federal gaming law.
Under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), tribes must be the "sole owner and primary beneficiary" of all Indian gaming activities. Tribes may choose to contract with management companies for casino management services, but these contracts must be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGA). Federal law also limits the amount that can be paid to outside management companies.