Tribal casinos enriched native Americans when they became legalized. Now there is speculation that a legal cannabis business can be another successful adventure for native Americans.
The similarities between gambling and cannabis might not be many, but there is one clear similarity: its legal status at the fragile barrier of legalization or not. Different states are taking very different approaches to the legal status of gambling and marijuana. Where states like Nevada and New Jersey did early legalization of gambling, other states still have very strict policies on gambling.
But there is an exception in many states, where tribal casinos are the only legal gambling activities. The casinos are run under the strict control of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988. This led to big financial success for the tribes running the casinos, and according to The Guardian the income from the tribal casinos is larger than the combined revenue from Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
The medical market could benefit natives As the legalization of cannabis is up for debate in multiple US states, legalization could be a potential income for many Native tribes, if they become a part of the potential market of legal marijuana. Especially the market for medical marijuana is suggested for Natives to participate in. Native Americans are over-represented in the statistics of diabetes, unemployment and accidental death. The hope is that legal cannabis sales can help the tribes dealing with these issues.
In August news media reported that some tribal casinos in North Carolina are planning to add cannabis to the repertoire of the casinos. This will enable customers to purchase marijuana and consume it legally through a ‘mega-dispensary’ at the casino. This is one of the first major marriages seen between the gambling and cannabis industries.
Sports betting leading to cannabis legalization In recent years the states of the US have been regulating their laws on sports betting. A supreme court decision in 2018 lifted a national ban on sports betting, so now the individual states could decide if sports betting should be legal. This progress in legalizing betting is considered to also be beneficial to the legalization of cannabis in multiple states. What used to be called sin businesses have quickly turned into providing profitable taxes for the states benefiting schools and other public purposes.
A state that early took a liberal approach to gamble and sports betting in New Jersey. The home state of Atlantic City has few restrictions on gambling. As one of the first states New Jersey allowed online gambling in 2013. It was also New Jersey that ran the lawsuit at the supreme court, that led to the dismantling of the national sports betting ban.
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Written by: Fredrik Francisco S. Stougaard Published: November 12, 2021