In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized Tribal rights to conduct gaming when it ruled that states had no authority to regulate gaming on Indian land if such gaming is permitted outside the reservation for any purpose. Congress established the legal basis for this right by passing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988.

Recent studies show that tribes in Washington State pay $140 million in state and local taxes; furthermore, Tribal governments play an increasingly important role in Washington’s economy. The total value-added, multiplier effect of Tribal government and enterprise spending exceeds an estimated $2.2 billion a year.

The IGRA requires that all revenues from Tribal gaming be used solely for governmental or charitable purposes, much like state government determines how lottery revenues are utilized. Tribal gaming revenue provides funding for health, education and law enforcement services for their people and helps develop a strong diverse economic base for the future.