Some tribes now eyeing Internet gambling

Scores of Native American tribes have been enjoying the fruits of casino gambling, thanks to legislation conceived, written and supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 1988.
More recently, some tribes have developed online payday loan centers as a means of expanding their revenue sources. And, some tribes look forward to both loaning money and taking Internet bets.
One such tribe, writes Cary Spivak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe of Wisconsin. The tribe offers payday loan services, but not in Wisconsin. Apparently, the state’s payday loan regulators pay serious attention to the manner in which the loans are made and also the amount of interest being charged.
Spivak writes that the tribe has been operating three online payday lending companies since May and now has set up the infrastructure for an Internet casino. Until Congress acts to legalize Internet gambling across state lines, some two dozen tribes that are interested in Internet gambling are forced to restrict wagering to gamblers who are physically on the site of the reservation, a practice that has been deemed legal.
Currently, the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe has an online gambling site in operation but players must use play money. If the federal law or state law were changed, say officials, “we could just flip a switch” and turn the action into a real money casino.
As for the payday loan business, officials say only that tribes are in need of additional revenue sources. Payday loan businesses are legal and are considered a “great fit for Indian country.”


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