Strange Bedfellows in South Dakota
Thread: Indian Gaming in the News
Anti-gambling forces have tried to sway policymakers and the public to eliminate South Dakota's video lottery since it was adopted in 1989. Now, as the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports on October 17th, in the context of tribes' efforts to seek amended compacts, tribes are exerting political influence through the power of a Native American voting bloc.
Walt Big Crow, an Oglala Sioux Tribe council member, said, "If we get to the point where we think the governor is negotiating in bad faith, if the governor turns down our compacts, we will tell our voters to turn down video lottery." Opposition to the video lottery would align tribes with anti-gambling organizations that, ironically, also oppose Indian gaming.
Tribal political strategies to leverage favorable compact terms is an artifact of the Supreme Court's decision in Seminole Tribe. Prior to that case, a tribe could sue a state in federal court for failure to negotiate a compact in good faith. Now, if a state doesn't consent to be sued, tribes must turn to the political arena, as tribes in South Dakota are doing.