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Canadian Tribal Gaming

A number of provinces have entered into agreements with First Nations to share slot machine revenue from locations on or off tribal lands. First Nations require provincial approval before they can conduct gaming on their lands. First Nations have established their own gaming commissions in an attempt to obtain some of the profits each provincial government makes in revenue every year.

First Nations throughout all regions of Canada participate in charitable gambling, and First Nations located in provinces that permit video lottery terminals (VLTs) are able to operate on-reservation VLTs, provided they comply with provincial regulations. Currently, tribal gaming is available in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Some First Nations are calling for recognition of a claimed aboriginal or treaty right to develop economically through casinos and for-profit gambling. Before 1996, there were arguments made that the First Nations had an aboriginal right under Canada's Constitution Act to conduct gambling activities if the activity was part of the culture before the arrival of Europeans to North America. In 1996, the case was heard by the Canadian Supreme Court (Pamajewon v. The Queen), and the court held that commercial gaming was not an integral part of First Nation culture. This finding has led to a limiting of gaming activities for First Nations and upheld the standard that provincial approval is necessary for any gambling-related ventures.

Tribal gaming revenue statistics only reflect revenue from Saskatchewan, the only province from which tribal gaming revenue data is available.
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