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91 Geo. L.J. 451 (2002-2003)
Are States Beating the House: The Validity of Tribal-State Revenue Sharing under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

handle is hein.journals/glj91 and id is 465 raw text is: NOTES
Are States Beating the House?: The Validity of
Tribal-State Revenue Sharing Under the
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
ERIC S. LENT*
INTRODUCTION
The Indian gaming industry has exploded since Congress enacted the Indian
Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988. By the year 2000, gross revenues
from Indian gaming exceeded $10.6 billion, up from approximately $100
million before the passage of IGRA.2 This is an increase of more than two
thousand percent over twelve years.3 Of course, the number of Indian tribes
engaged in gaming activities is also increasing. According to the Bureau of
Indian Affairs, Office of Indian Gaming Management, 212 tribes have entered
into agreements that permit gaming on reservation lands in twenty-four states.4
In California alone, sixty-two tribes have negotiated gaming agreements since
March 2000.5 The extraordinary expansion of the Indian gaming industry-
most notably its mushrooming revenues-has caused various disputes among
tribal members, tribes, states, and the federal government. Disputes relating to
the use and allocation of tribes' newfound gaming wealth are unsurprisingly
common.6 Specifically, the dispute over whether states can share in Indian
* J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, May 2003; B.A., University of Virginia, 2000. 1 would
like to thank Professor Reid P. Chambers for his help in developing this piece, as well as the editors of
The Georgetown Law Journal for their comments and suggestions. Thanks also to my family for their
constant love and support.
1. 25 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2721 (2000).
2. See Oversight Hearing on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Before the Senate Committee on
Indian Affairs, 107th Cong. 64 (2001) [hereinafter Oversight Hearing] (statement of Montie R. Deer,
Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission); Kevin K. Washburn, Recurring Problems in Indian
Gaming, I Wyo. L. REV. 427, 434 (2001).
3. Oversight Hearing, supra note 2, at 64 (statement of Chairman Deer).
4. OmCE OF INDIAN GAMING MGMT., BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, TRIBAL-STATE COMPACr LIST (July 6,
2000) [hereinafter TRIBAL-STATE COMPAcr LIST], available at http://www.doi.gov/bia/gaming/complist/
azgamcmpt.htm.
5. Oversight Hearing, supra note 2, at 13 (statement of Chairman Deer). When California voters
passed Proposition IA on March 7, 2000, the state began to negotiate Class III gaming compacts with
numerous tribes. Id.; see also infra section II.a.
6. For examples of disputes regarding dispersal of gaming revenues to tribal members, see Maxam v.
Lower Sioux Indian Community, 829 F. Supp. 277 (D. Minn. 1993) and Ross v. Flandreau Santee Sioux
Tribe, 809 F. Supp. 738 (D.S.D. 1992), both of which held that nonvoting tribe members have standing
to sue their tribe over a disbursement plan for gaming revenues. For attempts by the federal government
to tax gaming revenues, see Chickasaw Nation v. United States, 208 F.3d 871 (10th Cir. 2000), which
held that IGRA permitted federal taxation of winnings from Indian gaming, and W. Ron Allen,
Opinion-Editorial, Congressional Games, WASH. TIMES, Apr. 10, 1997, at A17. For disputes regarding

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