Is There Really Money to be Made in Gambling?

If you ask the Shakopee tribe, the answer would be a resounding “yes!”  According to the New York Times, a generation ago, the Shakopee Mdewakanton tribe lived in a motley collection of beat-up trailer homes, melting snow for bath water when wells froze over because they lacked indoor plumbing. Three-quarters of tribal members received government food supplements.
Today, the Shakopee Mdewakanton are believed to be the richest tribe in American history as measured by individual personal wealth: Each adult, according to court records and confirmed by one tribal member, receives a monthly payment of around $84,000, or $1.08 million a year.

The financial success of the 480 members of the Shakopee Tribe — whose ancestors 150 years ago were hunted down, slaughtered and eventually exiled from Minnesota — derives from their flourishing casino and resort operation, which on weekends swells the population of their tiny reservation to the size of a city.
“We have 99.2 percent unemployment,” Stanley R. Crooks, the tribe’s president, said as he smiled during a rare interview. “It’s entirely voluntary.”
Families say it is difficult to teach children the value of money when everyone knows no one will likely ever need to work.
“Why dig a hole when you don’t need to dig it — when you can pay someone to dig a hole?” said Keith B. Anderson, the tribe’s secretary and treasurer, who once worked for Target as an industrial designer. “Instead of budgeting a dinner and movie, you can go to dinner and a movie and have dinner again and see another movie, but you can’t see enough movies and dinners to spend all your money.”
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