The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota currently controls two major casinos in their Pine Ridge Reservation, just north of the Nebraska border. For years, tribal leaders here have been looking at ways to generate more revenue. In March, the tribe will vote on whether or not to allow alcohol and marijuana inside the reservation.
It’s an important decision for this Native American group, which has famously struggled with alcohol addiction for decades. Today, we’re going to look at why this decision is being made. We’ll also look at how it will affect the tribe moving forward.
Let’s get into it!
The Troubling History of the Pine Ridge Reservation
South Dakota is home to several different Native American tribes. The Oglala Sioux Tribe is one of the most notorious for outsiders. This tribe resides on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which has notoriously struggled with alcohol abuse for years.
The reservation was created all the way back in 1889. Today, it’s one of the largest reservations in the country, larger than both Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Pine Ridge has been dealing with issues of alcohol addiction for years.
A 2017 report from The Guardian truly shined a light on how serious it is in this area of the country. Approximately 85% of families are affected. As a result, the sale of alcohol has been completely prohibited for years.
It’s a complicated issue that’s plagued this reservation. Obviously, tribal leaders have worked extremely hard to crack down on this. Unfortunately, these efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
It’s clear that things are not perfect here. Interestingly, the Oglala Sioux tribe is set to vote on new regulations towards both alcohol and marijuana. Here’s what’s happening.
Oglala Sioux Tribe is Voting On Alcohol and Marijuana Laws
In March, the Oglala Tribe will officially vote to allow, or not allow, marijuana to be sold in the Pine Ridge Reservation. These decisions are generating serious interest, considering the tribe’s history.
Voters in the reservation will be asked to answer three questions on March 10th. Residents will vote on recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and on whether or not to allow alcohol inside the reservation’s casinos. It’s still unclear how the tribe will tackle these new regulations.
Allowing alcohol to be sold inside the casinos here would likely result in increased revenue. It may prove detrimental to the tribe in the long run, though.
Not everyone within the reservation can vote. The state’s gambling commission keeps a record of eligible voters. This includes registered voters who are at least 18 years old and have lived on the reservation for at least one year.
These are serious decisions that will have a serious impact on the tribe moving forward. We’ll need to wait and see how the Oglala Sioux Tribe decides to move forward over the next few months.
South Dakota Moves Toward Sports Betting Regulation
Back in May of 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Immediately afterward, every state in the country had the ability to legalize sports betting. Today, more than 20 states have legalized sports gambling and more are likely to do so over the next few months. Even Georgia, which has some of the strictest casino laws in the country, is interested in regulating sports betting.
In January of 2019, more than two dozen lawmakers in South Dakota officially filed a joint resolution that requests a voting amendment to allow sports betting. This amendment was not approved last year and it’s unclear how state officials will approach this new law in 2020.
It’s clear, however, that lawmakers here want to see sports betting legalized. Most of the states with regulated sports betting markets are earning millions of dollars every year by taxing this industry. South Dakota is likely to profit massively, as well.
There are some massive decisions that need to be made in this state. The Oglala Sioux tribe is scheduled to vote on new regulations toward alcohol and marijuana. State leaders will likely continue to push for the legalization of sports gambling.
It’s an interesting time to be a gambling fan in this state. Stay tuned for more South Dakota casino news in the future!