Indian Gaming

Indian Gambling

According to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are over 100 Indian rancherias/reservations in California encompassing over 400,000 acres. These Indian lands are located throughout the state in 38 different counties. Currently, there are 41 Indian gambling operations in California, located on rancherias/reservations throughout the state.


Indian Gambling Operations in California
As of July 1997
County Facility Name City Owner/Operator
Amador Jackson Indian Bingo and Casino Jackson Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk Indians
Butte Feather Falls Casino Oroville Mooretown Rancheria
  Gold Country Casino Oroville Tyme Maidu Tribe of the Berry Creek Rancheria
Colusa Colusa Indian Bingo Colusa Colusa Band of Wintun Indians
Del Norte Golden Bear Casino Klammath Coast Indian Community of the Resighini Rancheria
  Elk Valley Casino Crescent City Elk Valley Rancheria
  Lucky 7 Casino Smith River Smith River Rancheria
Fresno Mono Wind Casino Auberry Auberry Big Sandy Rancheria
  Table Mountain Rancheria Casino and Bingo Friant Table Mountain Rancheria
Humboldt Hoopa Lucky Bear Casino and Bingo Hoopa Valley Tribe
  Cher-Ae Heights Bingo and Casino Trinidad Trinidad Rancheria
Imperial Paradise Casino Winterhaven Quechan Indian Tribe
Inyo Sierra Spring Casino Big Pine Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley
  Konocti Vista Casino and Bingo Finley Big Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians
  Paiute Palace Casino -- Bishop Paiute Tribe
Kings The Palace Indian Gaming Center Lemoore Santa Rosa Band of Tachi Indians of the Santa Rosa Rancheria
Lake Twin Pines Casino Middletown Lake Miwok Indian Nation of the Middletown Rancheria
  Robinson Rancheria Bingo and Casino Nice Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians
Lassen Northern Lights Casino Susanville Susanville Indian Rancheria
Mendocino Red Fox Casino and Bingo Laytonville Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
  Shodaki Coyote Valley Casino -- Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  Hopland Sho-ka-wah Casino Hopland Hopland Band of Pomo Indians
  Black Hart Casino -- Sherwood Valley Rancheria
Riverside Spa Hotel and Casino Palm Springs Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  Cabazon Bingo Inc., Fantasy Springs Casino Indio Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
  Cahuilla Creek Rest and Casino -- Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians
  Casino Morongo Cabazon Morongo Band of Mission Indians
  Soboba Legends Casino San Jacinto Soboba Band of Mission Indians
  Pechanga Entertainment Center Temecula Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians
  Spotlight 29 Casino Coachella Twenty Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians
San Bernardino Havasu Landing Resort and Casino Havasu Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
  San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino Highland San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
San Diego Barona Casino and Bingo Lakeside Barona Band of Mission Indians
  Sycuan Indian Bingo and Poker Casino El Cajon Sycuan Band of Mission Indians
  Viejas Casino and Turf Club Alpine Viejas Band of Mission Indians
Santa Barbara Chumash Casino Santa Ynez Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians
Shasta Burney Casino Burney Pit River Tribe
  Win-River Casino Bingo Redding Redding Rancheria
Tulare Eagle Mountain Casino -- Tule River Tribe of the Tule River Indian Reservation
Tuolumne Chicken Ranch Bingo Jamestown Chicken Ranch Band of Me-Wuk Indians
Yolo Cache Creek Bingo and Casino Brooks Rumsey Indian Rancheria
Source: National Indian Gaming Commission.


In past years, Indian gambling in California consisted almost exclusively of bingo and card games like those played in other statewide card rooms. This is because these are the Class II gambling activities allowed in California that the Indians could operate without a compact. As mentioned above, all Class III gambling on Indian land requires a compact between the state and the Indians. To date, California has entered into compacts with five Indian tribes, allowing only parimutuel wagering on horse racing.

In recent years, however, Indians have offered other types of gambling. For instance, currently one of the most debated issues concerning Indian gambling in California is the operation of video machines in Indian casinos. According to the IGRA, electronic games are Class III games and therefore require a tribal-state compact. There are no recent statewide estimates for the number of machines currently in operation on Indian land. The Attorney General's Office, however, estimated in 1996 that there were over 12,000 video machines operating on Indian lands in California.

In addition, twenty-one (blackjack) is played in some Indian casinos (although the betting is slightly different than in traditional casinos). As noted earlier, twenty-one is specifically prohibited by state law, making it a Class III activity in California (that is, there must be a tribal-state compact).

Under federal law, all state laws regarding the licensing, regulation, or prohibition of gambling are applicable to gambling on Indian lands. However, the federal law provides federal authorities with the exclusive jurisdiction to prosecute any violations of state gambling laws on Indian lands. Thus, the State of California does not have the legal authority to enforce its gambling laws on Indian land. The regulation of Indian gambling at the federal level is the responsibility of the National Indian Gaming Commission, which has the power to assess civil penalties for violations of the IGRA. In addition, the commission can order the closure of any Indian gambling operations for violations of the IGRA.

There are currently several cases regarding various issues of Indian gambling in California pending in the federal court system. These involve the issues of: (1) off-track betting taxes collected at the wagering site and (2) the legality of slot machines.

Implications for the Legislature. At present, there is no clear process for the state to reach agreement and enter into compacts with Indian tribes for Class III gambling operations in California. Under the IGRA, the state clearly has the authority to negotiate Class III gambling. What is unclear, however, are what roles the Legislature and Governor have in these negotiations. Furthermore, given the gambling restrictions in the State Constitution and state statutes, it is not clear what types of Class III activities could be allowed under a tribal-state compact. In light of these issues coupled with the growth in gambling activities on Indian landswe recommend the Legislature clarify (1) the process and procedures for negotiating Class III gambling compacts with the Indian tribes, (2) the respective roles of both the executive and the legislative branches in that process, and (3) the specific Class III gambling activities that can be negotiated in California.



This report was prepared by Megan M. Atkinson, under the supervision of Gerald Beavers. The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) is a nonpartisan office which provides fiscal and policy information and advice to the Legislature.

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