State-Tribal Gaming Compacts

Federal law completely preempts state law regarding gaming on Indian reservations. It requires states to negotiate in good faith to reach gaming compacts to provide for gaming on Indian lands. In compliance with federal law, Montana has class III compacts with five of the state’s seven reservations:

  • Assiniboine and Sioux Nations of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation
  • Chippewa Cree Nation of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation
  • Crow Nation of the Crow Indian Reservation
  • Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Nations of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation
  • Northern Cheyenne Nation of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

No compacts currently exist with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation or the Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation. The Salish and Kootenai and Blackfeet Tribes have casinos offering class II gambling.

Assiniboine and Sioux Nations of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation

In December 2012, the State and the Assiniboine and Sioux Nations of Fort Peck signed a new Class III gaming compact, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Interior on December 20, 2012.   In addition to other forms of gambling that are legal in Montana, the 2012 compact allows up to a total of 750 Class III machines to be operated within the Reservation, which includes maximum wagers of $10 and maximum payouts of $2,500 for “regular stakes” machines.  The compact also provides that up to 20% of the Class III machines on any premises may be “high stakes” which may have a maximum wager of $50 and a maximum payout of $5,000.

Blackfeet Nation of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation

There is no Class III state-tribal gaming compact with the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. A short-lived compact was terminated in 1997. State-tribal negotiations with regard to a new Class III compact in 2006, did not result in a new gaming compact. Currently, the Blackfeet Nation operates the Glacier Peaks Casino, which is a Class II gaming facility.

Chippewa Cree Nation of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation

In December 2012, the State and the Chippewa Cree Nation signed a new Class III Tribal-State Gaming Compact, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Interior on February 4, 2013.  In addition to other forms of gambling that are legal in Montana, the 2012 compact allows to be operated within the Reservation up to 750 Class III machines, with maximum wagers of up to $10.  The compact provides for maximum payouts of $3,000 in up to 500 machines, and maximum payouts of $5,000 in up to 250 machines.

Crow Nation of the Crow Indian Reservation

The compact with the Crow Tribe was scheduled to expire in March 2003. However, the compact was extended with language that allowed it to remain in place until a new compact was negotiated. The State and Tribe held negotiations in 2007 and 2008, which resulted in amendments to the state-tribal gaming compact (PDF) that allow the Tribe to conduct parimutuel horse racing, operate up to 400 Class III video gambling machines and conduct gambling operations anywhere within the geographical confines of the Crow Reservation. The payout limit for Class III video gambling machines is $2,000 and the maximum bet limit is $5.

Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Nations of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation

The State and the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council signed a state-tribal gaming compact (PDF) on August 23, 2007. The compact was approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior and became effective December 10, 2007. The compact is the first gaming compact signed between the State of Montana and the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council. Under the agreement, the Tribes may have up to 400 Class III video gambling machines, with maximum payouts of $2,000. In addition, the Tribes may conduct all other forms of gambling that are legal in Montana.

Northern Cheyenne Nation of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

In January 2013, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and the State of Montana signed a new Class III Tribal-State Gaming Compact , which was approved by the U.S. Department of Interior on March 8, 2013. In addition to other forms of gambling that are legal in Montana, the 2013 compact allows to be operated within the Reservation up to 750 Class III machines at tribal casinos located within the Reservation and on the Tongue River Reservoir Trust Lands. The compact provides for maximum payouts of $3,000. “

Salish and Kootenai Nations of the Flathead Indian Reservation

There is no Class III state-tribal gaming compact with the Flathead Indian Reservation. The last compact lapsed in 2006, after state-tribal negotiations did not result in a new compact. Currently, the Salish and Kootenai operate two Class II casinos, Kwa Taq Nuk and the Gray Wolf Peak casino.