Jason Giles, executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, confirmed this week that many of the 246 tribes are keen to participate but also make sure not to be left behind in potential legalised US internet gambling.
At the gathering at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood 184 tribes which NIGA represents discussed gambling issues and the impact of online gambling legalisation in this lucrative sector.
"We all realize the future of gambling is the younger generation, with online gambling and mobile apps, and we don't want a state-run system to get out in front of us," Giles said.
Being just a little behind commercial casinos, Indian gambling is a $26.5 billion a year business in the United States. Giles claims that the top 40 tribes make 75 percent of the money, meaning that about 200 tribes are pretty much break-even propositions.
The Association is worried about a proposal that would allow only casinos with 500 or more slot machines to enter the online gambling market, and according to Giles that is only five or six tribes.
Giles suggested a Canada's example where the Kahnawake Mohawk Tribe has been successful in facilitating Internet gambling for international online casino operators: "That's something our bottom three-quarters could do. Others could team up to create a greater mass of players, making for bigger poker tournaments."
It was John Pappas, executive director of the advocacy group the Poker Players Alliance, who supported the whole thing saying that he would welcome the Indians' entry to the market if online poker is legalised.
"Those who are opposed are pretty short-sighted. This is going to happen," Pappas envisages.