Dear Mark: Now in our senior years, my wife and I spend about six months a year RVing across the US. Thanks to what I believe was your referral, we bring along the American Casino Guide and make stops at many of the different casinos across America for both food and some light gambling. Interestingly, we find that many of the Indian casinos offer different forms of gambling compared to where we live (Fresno, CA) the other half of the year. What is the reasoning behind this? Boyd C.
In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to "provide a legislative basis for the operation/regulation of Indian gaming, protect gaming as a means of generating revenue for the tribes, encourage economic development of these tribes, and protect the enterprises from negative influences (organized crime).”
What the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act also does is establish three categories of gaming; Class I, Class II, and Class III, with a different regulatory scheme for each.
Class I are traditional Indian games, which may be part of tribal ceremonies and celebrations, and social games for minimal prizes. The tribes themselves have exclusive control over these games and are not subject to IGRA's regulations.
What you undoubtedly observed in your travels, Boyd, are the differences between Class II and Class III games.
Class II games are games of chance commonly known as bingo, pull-tabs and non-banked card games (games that are played exclusively against other players instead of against the house or a player acting as a bank). What they do not include are slot machines or electronic facsimiles of any game of chance. Tribes themselves regulate Class II games with oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Casino-style gambling is Class III gaming. This includes games typically played at casinos: slots, video poker, table games, etc. Many conditions must be met for a tribe to offer Class III gaming. For instance, to offer Class III gaming, the tribe would not only have to negotiate a compact with the State, but also the State's cut of the gaming revenue.
Steve Bourie’s American Casino Guide remains the best all-inclusive guide of casinos nationwide for the budget conscious gambler.
Bourie updates American Casino Guide yearly (the 2016 guide is out) and he indexes every casino/resort in the U.S., plus all the toll-free phone numbers, web sites and e-mail addresses.
Noting in your question that you navigate your “stops at many of the different casinos across America for both food and light gambling,” as you know, Boyd, this is where the American Casino Guide comes in handy. The guide includes $1,000 in valuable casino coupons, like FREE rooms, shows, buffets, slot play, table betting money, and plenty more.
Moreover, the book has statistics that show the actual returns on slot machines provided by each state’s gaming commission, the best-paying video poker games, which casinos offer the best table game rules, and over 100 pages of gambling tips, techniques and winning strategies.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “It (Gambling) is not as destructive as war or as boring as pornography. It is not as immoral as business or as suicidal as watching television. And the percentages are better than religion.” – Mario Puzo, Inside Las Vegas (1976)