Press Release

For Immediate Release
June 30, 2004

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Protecting Indian Country from Crime

Indian gambling revenues have grown from $100 million in 1988 when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted, to $15 billion in 2003, and now outpace the gambling operations of Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined. Approximately 360 Indian gambling related operations are currently conducted by over 220 tribes throughout 28 states. While this phenomenal growth has been an economic boon to many Native American tribes, it has unfortunately increased the potential for organized crime groups to become a corrupting influence and to profit from illegal schemes such as embezzlement, illegal betting, and other gaming scams.

The tribes themselves provide the primary day-to-day due diligence to keep the facilities honest and fair for both players and operators. However, the threat posed by organized crime calls for the involvement of federal agencies to assist tribes in keeping Indian casinos crime free.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act gives the FBI federal criminal jurisdiction over acts directly related to Indian casino establishments, including those located on reservations under state criminal jurisdiction. As part of its efforts to combat crimes related to Indian gambling, the FBI spearheaded the creation of the Indian Gaming Working Group (IGWG), consisting of the Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General, National Indian Gaming Commission, Internal Revenue Services-Tribal Government Section, Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Center, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement Services.

With oversight from the FBI's Indian Country/Special Jurisdiction Unit, the IGWG works to ensure the honesty and fairness of Indian gambling activities for visitors, and fights organized crime groups attempting to commit embezzlement and other scams. Since its creation in February 2003, the IGWG has significantly enhanced inter-agency cooperation, and allowed its members to pool resources, and to develop and execute effective strategies to investigate and prosecute Indian gambling related crime.

The public is encouraged to contact the nearest FBI office if they are aware of any wrongdoing on Indian reservations. All contacts remain confidential.