March 2012

Different Nations, Different Rules

by Fred Gebhart

Legalities governing gaming, taxation, land use—not to mention contracting for events—that can affect meetings and events held in Native American properties are based on sovereignty. Tribal lands are independent nations.

Sovereignty is based on the U.S. Constitution, which put Indian Tribes on a similar footing as foreign nations and the individual states. Casino-by-casino details are set by pacts hammered out between individual states and tribes.

Carlos Murillo, director of sales at the Morongo Casino Resort in Palm Springs, says the Morongo Band of Mission Indians allows him significant flexibility to negotiate contract terms, but no room for special consideration when it comes to sovereignty.

That means, for example, that the possibility of settling disputes in the planner’s home jurisdiction is out. Any legal matters must be settled in Riverside County, Calif., the Morongo’s home jurisdiction. Choice of legal venue is a sovereignty issue, Murillo says, and not negotiable.

Sovereignty also can affect taxation. Native American operations on tribal lands are generally exempt from sales taxes, transient occupancy taxes and other state or local levies, notes a tribal resort sales executive, who requests not to be named after pointing out that planners may—or may not—see potential savings.

Some resorts pass their tax exemption along by charging tax-free rates. In other words, that $150 room is billed at $150 flat, not $150 plus sales-and-bed-tax. Other resorts plow monies collected into tribal tourism development while still others look at the earnings as additional profit. Planners should ask about this before signing on the dotted line.

 

Related Content

comments powered by Disqus

Webinars

Contracts: Advanced

10.22.2014 • 1:00 PM ET

Improving Incentive Trips with Mobile Apps

10.29.2014 • 1:00 PM ET

Overcoming Destination Misperception

11.12.2014 • 1:00 PM ET

Leverage Your CVB Relationship

11.19.2014 • 1:00 PM ET

The Top Meetings Tech Trends to Watch for in 2015

12.17.2014 • 1:00 PM ET

View all Webinars »

Recent Blogs

Unplugging Can Be the Best Way to Connect

Zachary Chouteau

In a meetings industry—and world—increasingly focused on mobile devices and techie connectivity, really getting away from it all has become more challenging than ever. The same tools and ...Read full story »

Want Happiness? Get Education

Larissa Schultz

A friend recently posted the following quote on their Facebook page: "Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." -- Karen Kaiser Clark And it inspired me to answer the question ...Read full story »

Best Practices for Calculating Hotel Food & Beverage Minimums

Molly Blaisdell

As a planner, one of the most important parts of a program is not only the quality of the food, but staying within one’s food and beverage budget. To assist clients in staying within their mea...Read full story »

Newsletter Subscriptions

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 British-American historical drama filmand an adaptation of the 1853 slave narrative memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery.