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Indian Casinos: Who Gets the Money?

December 11, 2002
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

Guests

Donald Barlett

editor-at-large, Time. Barlett co-authored the special report in this week’s Time magazine, "Wheel of Misfortune." He has received two Pulitzer prizes and is co-author of the book, "America: What Went Wrong".

James Steele

editor-at-large, Time. Steele co-authored the special report in this week’s Time magazine, "Wheel of Misfortune." He has received two Pulitzer prizes and is co-author of the book, "America: What Went Wrong".

Lyle Berman

Chairman and CEO of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., a casino development company. According to Barlett and Steele’s report: Berman gambled on Indian gaming with his 1990 decision to join forces with a Minnesota tribe, the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe Indians and build a casino on its reservation 70 miles north of Minneapolis.

The rich get richer.
Fraud, corruption, intimidation.
Buying politicians.
The white man wins again.

Those are some of the subject headings in a special report in this week’s Time magazine.

But the article is not about Enron, WorldCom, or Halliburton. It’s not about our campaign finance system, and it’s not about a new war in Iraq.

The article is about how white men are making millions off the Indian casino industry, while hundreds of thousands of Native Americans continue living in poverty.

The special report begins:

"Imagine if you will, Congress passing a bill to make Indian tribes more self-sufficient that gives billions of dollars to the white backers of Indian businesses-and nothing to hundreds of thousands of Native Americans living in poverty. Or a bill that gives hundreds of millions of dollars to one Indian tribe with a few dozen members-and not a penny to a tribe with hundreds of thousands of members. Or a bill that allows select Indian tribes to create businesses that reap millions of dollars in profits and pay no federal income tax ­ at the same time that the tribes collect millions in aid from American taxpayers. Can’t imagine Congress passing such a bill? It did."

That’s from the article "Wheel of Misfortune." We’re joined in our firehouse studio by the two journalists who did the investigation.


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