Indian gaming and the development of tribal casinos have a specific purpose: the improvement of conditions that exist in Indian country. Unlike non-Indian casino gambling, the revenue from Indian gaming may be used only for designated purposes. There are no shareholders or corporate interests that control what happens to the profits derived from the gambling activities. Rather, Indian gaming is nonprofit. The distribution of money derived from the gaming enterprise must conform to the law as set forth in the 1999 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. sects. 2701-2721), passed by the 133rd Congress. Indian country is one of the few land areas in the United States where unemployment, crime rates, and poverty remain largely unaddressed. In 2000, the Associated Press conducted a computer analysis of federal unemployment, poverty, and public assistance records (Pace 2000). Unemployment in Indian country exceeded 50%, attributable largely to factors including geographic isolation, a lack of economic investment, and widespread lack of transportation. American Indians are disproportionately poor. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one-quarter of all American Indians, and more than 35% of all American Indian children, live below the poverty line, as compared with 12.6% of the total U.S. population. The annual median income of American Indian households in 2005 was $33,627, compared with the national average of $46,037 (Ogunwole 2006).
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