In the landmark decision in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the U. S. Supreme Court held that the state of California had no authority to apply its Regulatory statutes to gambling activities conducted in Indian Country.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C. sections 2701 et seq., enacted in 1988, quickly followed to provide a statutory basis for regulation of tribal games. This law allows traditional Indian gaming as well as bingo, pull tabs, lotto, punchboards, tip jars, and certain card games on tribal land. However, it requires a Tribal/State compact for other forms of gaming such as cards or slot machines. Today, nearly 240 tribes in 28 states are involved in some kind of gaming.

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) was established by Congress to develop regulations for Indian gaming.

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