Maine is staying in the dark ages when it comes to Indian gaming.
But it's not for religious or cultural reasons, as the state is home to two non-Indian casinos. Thirty years after the passage of the Indian
Gaming Regulatory Act
, tribes are instead stuck with high-stakes bingo.
In hopes of addressing the situation, State Rep. Henry John Bear
, who is a citizen of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
, introduced a bill that would ask the Maine Supreme Judicial to determine whether tribes can exercise their inherent authority and engage in gaming.
“We need jobs. We want to pay our own way,” Bear said during debate on his bill, known as House
, The Bangor Daily News reported. “That’s the simple response to the question to us of ‘why do you want to do it? Why do you want gaming?’”
But a majority of Bear's colleagues didn't want to find out the answer. They voted down his bill
Similarly, a different tribal gaming bill is all but dead in the State Senate, the paper reported.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court
decision in California
v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
, tribes possess the inherent authority to legalize and regulate gaming on their own lands. A year after the decision, Congress enacted IGRA to provide a national framework for dealing with casinos in Indian Country.
But most tribes in Maine aren't able to follow the law due to restrictions in their land
. Attempts to address the issue on the state level have failed repeatedly, even as voters approved the non-Indian facilities.
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