American Indian > American Indian Gaming and Compact Negotiation

American Indian gaming has strengthened tribal governments and vastly improved the quality of reservation life from coast to coast for many gaming tribes. The revenue derived from gaming is used to fund tribal government operations or programs, to provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members, to promote tribal economic development, to donate to charitable organizations and to help fund the operations of local government agencies.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has significant experience with tribal gaming issues, both as representatives of tribal entities and as federal officials involved in such issues. A number of our lawyers previously worked in senior positions at the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Department of the Interior, in Congress and at key federal agencies relevant to American Indian gaming matters. The firm’s lawyers have developed strong professional relationships with these entities, which advantageously positions Akin Gump to represent and advocate for our tribal clients before them. They are well versed in the intricacies of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Our gaming practice focuses on the finance, development, construction, operation and regulation of resorts and gaming projects of American Indian nations. Our lawyers have specific experience with land acquisitions, approval of land-into-trust applications, gaming eligibility determinations, negotiation of tribal-state gaming compacts and obtainment of approval of such compacts, assistance in establishing tribal corporations, obtainment of financing for tribal economic development projects, assistance with matters related to the construction of gaming facilities and the management of such facilities, and representation of tribes in legal and political matters that arise after the completion and operation of gaming facilities.

One of our significant representations was a tribe in New York with regard to the establishment of two metropolitan Class III gaming facilities. Akin Gump was pivotal in the tribe’s success by assisting in negotiating its tribal-state compact, facilitating the expeditious federal approval of the compact and obtaining favorable determinations on applications for restricted fee status for the lands on which the gaming facilities have been placed. We also advised on all other issues relating to the financing and construction of the tribe’s casinos, which opened approximately two years after the beginning of the project. We also are currently assisting other tribal clients in their efforts to obtain trust or restricted land and develop gaming facilities in various regions of the country, including California and a number of Midwestern states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma.

In addressing the unique and complex issues associated with our American Indian gaming practice, our corporate lawyers work closely with the firm’s American Indian law and policy practice, recognized by Chambers USA as one of the leading practices in the nation. We also work closely with the firm’s real estate, litigation, labor and employment, public law and policy and tax practices.