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The Oglala Sioux Indian Tribe Faces Problems for Slot Machines

John Yellowbird Steele, the tribal chairman of the Oglala Sioux Tribe said last February 18th, 2007 that they are planning to put up slot machines at their Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; He said that the slot machines could have a positive effect in the economic conditions of the tribe and their customers can come from the states of Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska.

But that plan may have a hitch. An expansion plan on the existing Prairie Winds Casino is a really large undertaking because it plans to build a brand new hotel and conference center which aims to make the casino an all-around and attractive destination and could rest on adding more slot machines on the casino.

But the Oglala and seven other Sioux tribes that are located in South Dakota are required by their compacts with the state to just have 250 slot machines. Although the tribal chairman will not divulge the compact between the Oglala and the state, some of the officials said that then restriction by the state is stopping the growth of the tribes in the area.

The secretary of the Flandreau Santee Tribe in Flandreau, Ms Drapeau, commented that the tribes really need the added machines. The casinos, she added are already capable of holding more than 500 machines on their gaming floor. She added that that during the weekend, the sheer demand for gaming activities will really keep the machines in full use.

But that plan might not yet happen because the gaming laws allow the tribes to feature different types of gambling games that are allowed in the state and requires the Indian Tribes to negotiate a gambling compact with the state. Some clauses that are inside those compacts limit the number of the slot machines which are allowed inside the casinos.

A lot of the tribal members are opposed to the limit and personally believes that Gov. Mike Rounds and his officials put the number of slot machines really low so that it could protect the interests of the video lottery and the other forms of gambling in Deadwood, which gives a lot of money to South Dakota.

Like Steele and the Oglala, the tribes are thinking of on how they could widen their offerings in their casinos. The tribal leaders in the area are also thinking of the future of their own casinos like the Rosebud Casino located on U.S. Highway 83, just 19 miles south of Mission. The executive secretary of the South Dakota Gaming Commission, Larry Eliason said the state government wants to be impartial to the tribes but they want to follow on what the voters have approved of back in 1988 when they have allowed gambling in Deadwood.

When the legislation ratified that vote in 1989,they imposed a restriction of 30 gambling devices in the casinos and just a $5 wagering limit, which has ultimately gone up to $100 through another amendment in 2000.

With some added gambling features and offers and some remodeling, the previous 30 slot machines have allowed for about 2,998 slot machines and about 92 table casino games in Deadwood just last year. So a lot of tribal members are really puzzled why a town is allowed that much while a tribe is only permitted to have 250 slot machines.


Wednesday, 09 April 2008
Darren G. Strachan