Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Hing, N 2007, 'Return of the buffalo: tourism enterprise development in Native American Indian gaming', in J Buultjens & D Fuller (eds), Striving for sustainability: case studies in Indigenous tourism, Southern Cross University Press, Lismore, NSW, pp. 469-492. ISBN: 9781875855667

Peer Reviewed



Since European colonisation, Native American Indian tribes have been economically, socially and culturally decimated by centuries of war, removal, relocation, reservation policies, land theft and destruction of native species. While the United States Government has pursued a policy of self-determination for Indigenous peoples since the 1960s, there were few success stories of Indigenous enterprise development until the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988. The purpose of this Act is to promote tribal government initiatives, tribal welfare and tribal economic development, and to increase funding to charities and local governments by allowing Indian tribes to operate various types of gambling facilities, with the most prominant and lucrative being large-scale casinos. These Indian-operated casinos now attract nearly one-quarter of all gambling revunues in the country, with much of this derived from domestic and international tourists. This gambling revenue is seen as the 'new buffalo' and has allowed Indian tribes to address issues of unemployment, poverty, poor health, low levels of education, cultural preservation, land degradation, and lack of infrastructure. This chapter overviews the history of Indian gaming operations, discusses its impacts, and provides a case study of the largest casino in the world, Foxwoods Resort Casino, operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation.

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