Photo: Graphic by Gus Lubin
In 1621 the Wampanoag Nation provided food for British pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving.Last week — 390 years later — the state of Massachussets voted to give the Wampanoag Nation a licence to operate a casino.
This reversal is indicative of the historical trend. The Native American Nations have entered the casino business, operating with special rights on the margins of society.
Indian tribes operate nearly all the casinos outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Not only that, many of them are bigger than the biggest casinos in Vegas, like Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort, which has its own MGM Grand.
Some come complete with 18-hole golf courses, high-end shopping centres, or outdoor ice skating rinks. The biggest ones have over 6,000 slot machines and nearly 100 different poker tables.
There are now over 400 casinos operated by more than 200 tribes throughout the U.S., and the number of casinos opening is still growing. The Midwest is home to many of them, but the biggest ones are scattered throughout the nation.
Gambling has always been a part of Indian culture. Although it often consisted of betting on winners of games, much like today's sports betting.
A 1972 Supreme Court victory over mistaken property taxes found that states are NOT allowed to regulate Indian reservation activities. This set the stage.
Foxwoods in Ledyard, CT is often considered the biggest casino in the U.S thanks to all of its slot machines and table games.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe opened Foxwoods in 1992. But, they've been living out Southeast Connecticut for over 10,000 years.
Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT is a popular escape for Chinese gamblers. The facility is separated in to three areas -- Sky, Earth, and Wind.
The Mohegan Tribe along with the Pequots of Foxwoods provide the state of Connecticut with over $4 billion in gaming revenue.
The Hannahville Indian Community owns the Islands Resort & Casino. They are a part of the Potawatomi Reservation and refused to leave Michigan in 1834.
Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel in Morton, MN also boasts its own golf course, the Dacotah Ridge Golf Club.
The Lower Sioux Indian Community who own Jackpot Junction are from the Minnesota River Valley. They are a part of the Mdewakanton Band of Dakota.
San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in Highland, CA opened in 1986. Its bingo room accommodates over 2,500 players.
The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians were once a group of quality basket weavers. Now, the casino provides over 3,000 jobs to people in the area.
The Potawatomi Tribe first opened the place as a bingo casino in 1991, but eventually added the whole works of slots and tables.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.