Mohawk Tribe to Combine Casino and Bingo Operations

There are many huge bingo halls located throughout the UK. UK bingo halls are owned by private companies and are licensed and regulated by the gambling commission. In the US bingo games have traditionally been operated by churches and charitable organizations. In 1988 the US congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which opened the door for bingo halls and casinos on Native American reservations. The act was designed to boost economic development on reservations and protects gaming operations as a way for tribes to generate revenue for their communities. Today gaming has provided Indian tribes with billions in revenue.

Many tribes established world class casinos and bingo halls. In 1981 a Supreme Court decision allowed the Seminole Indian tribe in Florida to operate high stakes bingo at their bingo hall located in Hollywood Florida. The Seminole bingo hall was the first legal high staked bingo hall in the United States. Other tribes soon followed and today Indian gaming rivals established gaming centers like Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

In upstate New York a recent proposal would allow the St. Regis Mohawk tribe to start a $75 million dollar expansion program which would combine the Mohawk Bingo Palace with the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. The plan includes the construction of a seven story hotel. The tribe wants to update their 30 year old bingo hall which is starting to show its age. Maintenance costs at the aging bingo hall are making its operation more expensive and the tribe wants to maximize profits from gaming. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council stated, “in order to maximize profitability at the tribe’s gaming enterprises, it is necessary to both expand the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino to include a hotel and to relocate the Mohawk Bingo Palace to the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.” The statement also said that the tribal Council “believes this expansion is necessary and is in the best interest of the tribal membership.”

Some tribal members expressed concern about the proposal saying that bingo attracts a different type of player and they do not like the tribe competing with other businesses owned by tribal members. Many believe that once US laws regarding internet gaming are changed that several tribes will launch online bingo sites. Internet bingo could easily bring in millions annually for tribes operating casinos. Many US gaming companies are poised to enter the internet bingo industry once the laws are changed. Once that happens most tribal gaming operations will probably launch their own online casinos and internet bingo websites.