At the invitation of Alex Pearl and the FIU Law Review to write a symposium piece on Florida Indian history and law, a challenge for me since I know very little about it, I came up with “The Seminole Tribe and the Origins of Indian Gaming.” Assuming the law review finds it publishable, it will appear in the FIU Law Review alongside the work of luminaries like Siegfriend Weissner and Sarah Krakoff.
Here is the abstract:
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has played perhaps the most important role in the origins and development of Indian gaming in the United States of any single tribe. The tribe opened the first tribally owned high stakes bingo hall in 1979. The tribe in 1981 was involved in one of the earliest lower court decisions forming the basis of the legal theory excluding most states from the regulation of high stakes bingo, a theory that Congress largely codified in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) years later. The tribe was a party to the Supreme Court decision in 1996 that radically altered the bargaining power between tribes and states over the negotiation and regulation of casino-style gaming under IGRA. And more recently, the tribe has been a leading participant in negotiations and litigation over the regulatory landscape of Indian gaming after the 1996 decision. The Tribe is one of the most successful Indian gaming tribes in the nation.
This paper traces that history, but also offers thoughts on how the culture and traditional governance structures of the Seminole Tribe played a part in its leadership role in the arena of Indian gaming.