In the fall of 1988, President Reagan signed into law the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). This 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. IGRA also created three classes of Indian gaming and provided for a different regulatory framework for each class.
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, and 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 and remedies for breach of compact.
Class II gaming includes bingo, pull-tabs, punch boards, tip jars and 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 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.