Industry Reports

First Nations Deserve Better Gaming Opportunity, Study Says

Fraser Institute is ready to support First Nations with the help of its latest study linked to casino gaming. Cartels and Casinos: First Nations’ Gaming in Canada delves into the subject pointing out that Canadian provinces could prioritize the Indigenous nations better when it comes to the provincial gambling operation field.

Tribal casinos are a breath of fresh air for the people interested in in-person gambling, as they have a different atmosphere to them. First Nations are able to support various projects and guarantee their people reliable income as a result of the gaming revenue these venues generate on a daily basis. The regions of Calgary, Edmonton, and Alberta offer these nations good chances for developing their businesses.

Fraser Institute

However, other provinces tend to prioritize commercial casino locations and operators, as a recent study by the Fraser Institute pointed out. Tom Flanagan is a Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of the study focusing on the ways in which tribal gambling operation could be improved down the road. Mr. Flanagan pointed out that experience shows that tribal venues are not a priority for some provinces.

In the study, he makes it clear that the gambling field of Canada follows strict rules which prevent First Nations from building their casino locations in the proximity of larger cities. This is often justified with the particular lands the tribal nation has the right to build a casino on. As a result of their location, tribal casinos usually generate enough gaming revenue to support themselves and the community, but remain largely unable to boost the local economy.

Tribal casinos work under different compacts inked with the province and their operation differs from commercial gambling hotspots. In this sense, they have more freedom to conduct their daily operation in the most appropriate manner for them and aim to attract more patrons. For the most part, their remote location is what makes them less profitable when compared to bigger players in Canada’s gambling field, the study highlights.

Fair Conditions for All

Mr. Flanagan made a recommendation in his study, aiming to improve the situation for First Nations seeking better gambling operation opportunities. They should receive better chances for developing their gaming venues. He also recognized the various efforts many provinces have made to include First Nations in the gambling field, such as the Criminal Code amendment making tribal casinos legal and independent from provincial oversight.

Moreover, British Columbia Government wants to support them to the best of its abilities via a Gaming Control Act amendment in regards to the upcoming 23 years. This would result in some CA$3 billion in allocations to the tribes. This support will happen over the upcoming years leading up to 2045.

The province of Alberta features five tribal casinos to the likes of Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino, Eagle River Casino & Travel Plaza, Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Casino Dene, and River Cree Resort & Casino. Each of those has a designated licensed charity it supports with its gaming revenue. The funds are also used for charitable and religious programs associated with each of the First Nations.