About the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

Learn about the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which President Reagan signed into law in the fall of 1988.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) confirmed the rights of tribes to conduct gaming on Indian lands and required states and tribes to enter into a compact (contract) for certain types of gaming.

Classes of Indian gaming

IGRA also created three classes of Indian gaming and provided for a different regulatory framework for each class.

Class III gaming

Class III (Nevada-style) gaming includes activities such as:

  • Lotteries
  • Casino games
  • House-banked card games
  • Horse racing
  • Pari-mutuel wagering
  • Off-track betting
  • Keno
  • Machine gaming
  • Sports wagering.

Tribal-state Class III gaming compacts between each tribe and the state outline:

  • The style of gaming allowed
  • Standards of operation
  • Criminal and civil jurisdiction
  • State regulation fees
  • Remedies for breach of compact.

Class II gaming

Class II gaming includes:

  • Bingo
  • Pull-tabs
  • Punch boards
  • Tip jars
  • Other games similar to bingo.

Card games that are not banked by the house are considered Class II. Regulation of these games is within tribal jurisdiction, subject to oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Traditional or ceremonial class I gaming

Traditional or ceremonial Class I gaming remains within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Indian tribes. These are social games played solely for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming connected to tribal ceremonies or celebrations.