California is home to approximately 60 Indian casinos that support over 56,000 jobs.
Following many years of litigation and debate, a bipartisan coalition in Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, 25 U.S.C. Sec. 2701, et seq.
When Congress enacted IGRA, it had before it extensive documentation of the acute and long-standing need for economic development on Indian reservations. It showed decades of failed programs and the potential of tribal government gaming to fund effective tribal governments and bring some measure of prosperity to tribal communities lacking in the natural resources and development capital to relieve the wretched conditions of the poorest of America’s poor.
A fundamental purpose of IGRA was to “provide a statutory basis for the operation of gaming by Indian tribes as a means of promoting tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.”