Native American Casino

Wherever there's an Indian reservation in Movieland, there has to be a casino.

This is partly Truth in Television. In the United States, a series of legal decisions that began with Bryan v. Itasca County in 1976 and ended with the creation of the National Indian Gaming Commission in 1988 established that Native American tribal reservations who set up a "tribal-state compact" with their state are exempt from any state gambling bans or regulation (though they are still subject to federal regulation). Since reservations are typically among the poorest and least developed parts of the nation, the upside is that giving them a monopoly on gaming is a way to attract tourists and jump-start reservation economies. The downside is that impoverished residents can be attracted to addictive gambling, and there is no guarantee that the casinos will enrich anyone but the owners.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Film 
  • The plot of Crooked Arrows centers around the expansion plan of the casino on the Haudenosaunee tribe's land.
  • In the remake of Walking Tall, Dwayne Johnson's character returns to his hometown to find that one of his classmates has since built a casino there. He asks his old friends how the guy managed that, since it's apparently a requirement that only Native Americans can own casinos. The friends say that the guy is part-Indian, according to the papers he provided to the gambling board... not counting whatever else the guy slipped him under the table.

    Live Action TV 
  • Parks and Recreation: Ken Hotate, elder of the Wamapoke Tribe, owns the Wamapoke Casino.
  • The 1992 revival series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet had a plot involving our heroes demolishing a historic bridge in England, and rebuilding it across a canyon in Arizona to provide access to a Native American casino.
  • In the CSI: Miami episode "Bloodline", a gaming official accused of trying to dip into Indian casino profits is found scalped to death.
    • CSI: New York used a different variation on this plot. The chief of a tribe that had set up an online casino to earn money to buy back land that had been stolen from it is murdered by another member of the tribe who works for the casino and is embezzling profits that are meant to pay for the tribe's efforts to buy back its stolen land.
  • Tony Soprano makes a deal with the owner of such an establishment (and even visits his casino) in an attempt to use backdoor politics to stop a Native American protest of a Christopher Columbus parade.
  • Life: In episode 2x10, the deputy is killed in one of those reservation casinos.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Francis makes a casino out of half of his and his wife's house when he finds out that the one half is on reservation territory.
    • In another episode, the family goes to an Indian casino, and Hal and Malcolm are caught counting cards.
  • In the "Deer Woman" episode of Masters of Horror, the obligatory Magical Native American works at a casino.
  • On Big Love Bill Henrickson decides to branch out from the hardware business, and partners with a Native American tribe to build a "family" casino.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Marshall try to outwit Barney by switching the location of Marshall's bachelor party from Atlantic City to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Brad leaves the group as soon as they arrive to gamble. They pick him up on the way back to New York, apparently having lost all his clothes and money while gambling.
  • On The Glades one Victim of the Week was a tribal leader who managed the tribe's casino. She made a lot of enemies because she disqualified a lot of people from being official tribe members and thus sharing in the casino's profits.
  • On Banshee the local Indian tribe owns a casino. The tribe's elderly chief wants to secure his tribe's future by replacing the old building with a new modern casino and hotel. To accomplish this he makes a Deal with the Devil with Kai Proctor, the local crimelord.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: A crooked fund raiser is playing both ends to raise money for a crooked congressman. Getting millions from the Indians and also from those opposing the casino while delivering nothing while embezzling from everyone. Unfortunately the congressman finds out that the fund raiser's wife is undercover Secret Service and tries to steal her files to see if he's under investigation (he isn't). The wife walks in and is beaten to death.
  • A Show Within a Show example. The main cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia made two unofficial fan-made sequels to Lethal Weapon. The Big Bad of both of them is a corrupt Native American casino owner named Chief Lazurus.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer makes an Indian chief promise him that they will build a casino in exchange for Homer breaking the dam that has flooded the natives' valley. The chief says Homer will also be offered free breakfasts and four decks at blackjack.
    • In another episode, Homer gives Bart as a collateral to a Native American casino and thinks that not allowing minors to gamble is a Native American custom.
  • South Park: Evil Native American casino owners are planning to pave over South Park in order to build a freeway directly to their casino.
  • The Drawn Together episode "Ghostesses in the Slot Machine" combines this trope with Indian Burial Ground.
  • John Redcorn tries to open one up in Texas in King of the Hill. It turns out there's a law against it there, and when asked why he didn't notice there being no other tribal casinos at all in the area, John simply thought he was the first to think of it.
  • Parodied on Futurama, where the Wongs own a casino staffed mostly by Native Martians. It turns out the casino was supposed to pass into their ownership years ago, and Amy returns it to them.