Ho Chunk casino in Black River Falls

Wisconsin has agreements on gambling operations with each of the state's 11 federally recognized tribes.

Q: Why can Native American tribes run casinos in Wisconsin when municipalities and other businesses can’t?

A: Federal law stipulates that tribes can operate “gaming” or gambling facilities on tribal land to promote “tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and strong tribal governments.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted in 1988 to regulate gambling, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The commission is tasked with preventing organized crime or other corruption in the operation, ensuring the games are played fairly and ensuring the tribe benefits from the funds raised.

Wisconsin has bans on most forms of gambling with some exceptions for licensed raffles or bingo games held by charitable organizations and tribal gaming, according to the state Division of Gaming.

The state has gaming agreements with all 11 of Wisconsin’s federally recognized tribes. Those agreements include regulations and conditions for each tribe’s gambling operations.

— Shelley K. Mesch

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.