Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-569ts Total loading time: 0.49 Render date: 2022-09-26T11:01:21.565Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true


The Role of “The Casino Indian” Stereotype and Presence of Native Nation Gaming

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2020

Laurel R. Davis-Delano*
Department of Social Science, Springfield College
Renee V. Galliher
Department of Psychology, Utah State University
Kirsten Matoy Carlson
School of Law and Department of Political Science, Wayne State University
Arianne E. Eason
Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley
Stephanie A. Fryberg
Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
Corresponding author: Laurel Davis-Delano, Professor of Sociology, Department of Social Science, Springfield College, 263 Alden Street, Springfield, MA01109, E-mail:


Since first contact with Europeans, Native American nations have strived to maintain and strengthen their sovereignty. Yet, non-Native individuals and groups, as well as federal, state, and local governments, continue to challenge this sovereignty. Despite the critical importance of sovereignty, the only academic study focused on U.S. public attitudes toward Native nation sovereignty predated the rise of Native nation gaming and relied on samples from three universities. In our study, we surveyed over 2000 White Americans from across the United States to examine attitudes toward Native nation sovereignty. Of the many factors that may influence these attitudes, we focused on three: belief in “the casino Indian” stereotype, the perception that Native American interests conflict with the interests of Whites, and the presence of Native nation gaming in participants’ states.

We find two significant models predicting attitudes towards Native nation sovereignty. First, greater endorsement of the casino Indian stereotype is associated with more negative attitudes toward Native nation sovereignty. This relationship is explained, at least in part, by the perception that Native American interests conflict with the interests of Whites. That is, the more White participants endorsed the casino Indian sterereotype, the more apt they were to believe that their interests conflict with Native Americans, which in turn is related to more negative attitudes towards Native nation sovereignty. The second model revealed that the presence of Native nation gaming in the participant’s state has important indirect implications for attitudes towards Native nation sovereignty. Specifically, White participants living in states with Native nation gaming are more likely to endorse the casino Indian stereotype, which is related to greater perceived conflict of interest with Native Americans, and, ultimately perceived conflict of interest is associated with more negative attitudes toward Native nation sovereignty. We situate our findings relative to group position theory and discuss practical implications for Native nation sovereignty.

State of the Art
© 2020 Hutchins Center for African and African American Research

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Akee, Randall K. Q., and Taylor, Jonathan B. (2014). Social and Economic Change on American Indian Reservations: A Databook of the U.S. Censuses and the American Community Survey, 1990–2010. Sarasota, FL: Taylor Policy Group.Google Scholar
Ashley, Jeffrey S., and Jarratt-Ziemski, Karen (1999). Superficiality and Bias: The (Mis)treatment of Native Americans in U.S. Government Textbooks. American Indian Quarterly, 23(3/4): 4962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barker, Joanne (2005). Recognition. American Studies/Indigenous Studies Today, 46(3/4): 133161.Google Scholar
Berinsky, Adam J., Huber, Gregory A., and Lenz, Gabriel S. (2012). Evaluating Online Labor Markets for Experimental Research:’s Mechanical Turk. Political Analysis, 20: 351368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berkhofer, Robert F. (1978). The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
Blackhawk, Ned (2006). Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Blumer, Herbert (1958). Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position. The Pacific Sociological Review, 1(1): 37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence (1983). Whites’ Opposition to Busing: Symbolic Racism or Realistic Group Conflict? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(6): 11961210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence (1988). Attitudes toward the Black Political Movement: Trends, Meaning, and Effects on Racial Policy Preferences. Social Psychology Quarterly, 51(4): 287302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence D. (1999). Prejudice as Group Position: Microfoundations of a Sociological Approach to Racism and Race Relations. Journal of Social Issues, 55(3): 445472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence, and Hutchings, Vincent L. (1996). Perceptions of Racial Group Competition: Extending Blumer’s Theory of Group Position to a Multiracial Social Context. American Sociological Review, 61(6): 951972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bobo, Lawrence D., and Tuan, Mia (2006). Prejudice in Politics: Group Position, Public Opinion, and the Wisconsin Treaty Rights Dispute. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bodinger de Uriarte, John J. (2007). Casino and Museum: Representing Mashantucket Pequot Identity. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
Boehmke, Frederick J., Branton, Regina P., Dillingham, Gavin, and Witmer, Richard C. (2012). Close Enough for Comfort?: The Spatial Structure of Interest and Information in Ballot Measure Elections. The Journal of Politics, 74(3): 827839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boxberger Flaherty, Anne F. (2013). American Indian Land Rights, Rich Indian Racism, and Newspaper Coverage in New York State, 1988–2008. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 37(4): 5384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buhrmester, Michael, Kwang, Tracy, and Gosling, Samuel D. (2011). Amazon’s Mechanical Turk: A New Source of Inexpensive, Yet High-Quality, Data? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1): 35.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Burkley, Edward, Durante, Federica, Fiske, Susan T., Burkley, Melissa, and Andrade, Angela (2016). Structure and Content of Native American Stereotypic Subgroups: Not Just (Ig)noble. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 23(2): 209219.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cattelino, Jessica R. (2008). High Stakes: Florida Seminole Gaming and Sovereignty. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chang, David A. (2010). The Color of the Land: Race, Nation, and the Politics of Landownership in Oklahoma, 1832–1929. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colley, Brook (2018). Power in the Telling: Grand Ronde, Warm Springs, and Intertribal Relations in the Casino Era. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
Conner, Thaddieus, Fryar, Alisa H., and Johnson, Tyler (2017). Information versus Ideology: Shaping Attitudes towards Native American Policy. The Social Science Journal, 54(1): 5666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Conner, Thaddieus W., and Taggart, William A. (2014). American Indian Gaming and Public Opinion: An Experimental Study Assessing the Impact of Information on Public Policy Preferences. Gaming Law Review and Economics, 18(5): 451460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Corntassel, Jeff, and Witmer, Richard C. (2008). Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenges to Indigenous Nationhood. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
Costello, E. Jane, Erkanli, Alaattin, Copeland, William, and Angold, Adrian (2010). Association of Family Income Supplements in Adolescence with Development of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders in Adulthood among an American Indian Population. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(19): 19541960.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Darian-Smith, Eve (2004). New Capitalists: Law, Politics, and Identity Surrounding Casino Gambling on Native American Land. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
Deer, Sarah (2015). The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Denis, Jeffrey S. (2015). Contact Theory in a Small-Town Settler-Colonial Context: The Reproduction of Laissez-Faire Racism in Indigenous-White Canadian Relations. American Sociological Review, 80(1): 218242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dudas, Jeffrey R. (2008). The Cultivation of Resentment: Treaty Rights and the New Right. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Editors, (1996). Antisemitism Decreases but Persists. Society, 33(3): 23.Google Scholar
Fryberg, Stephanie (2002). “Really? You Don’t Look Like an American Indian”: Social Representations and Social Group Identities. PhD Dissertation, Department of Psychology, Stanford University.Google Scholar
Glick, Peter, and Fiske, Susan T. (2001). Ambivalent Stereotypes as Legitimizing Ideologies. In Jost, John T. and Major, Brenda (Eds.), The Psychology of Legitimacy: Emerging Perspectives on Ideology, Justice, and Intergroup Relations, pp. 278306. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Goldberg-Ambrose, Carole (1994). Of Native Americans and Tribal Members: The Impact of Law on Indian Group Life. Law & Society Review, 28(5): 11231148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gonzales, Angela A., Ahlquist, Daniel B., and Lyson, Thomas A. (2009). Public Opinion on Indian Casinos and Rural Development in New York State. Research & Policy Brief Series 25. Ithaca, NY: Community and Rural Development Institute.Google Scholar
Goodman, Joseph K., Cryder, Cynthia E., and Cheema, Amar (2013). Data Collection in a Flat World: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Mechanical Turk Samples. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 26(3): 213224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gordon, Theodor P. (2018). Cahuilla Nation Activism and the Tribal Casino Movement. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
Harmon, Alexandra (2010). Rich Indians: Native People and the Problem of Wealth in American History. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (HPAIED) (2008). The State of Native Nations: Conditions under U.S. Policies of Self-Determination. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Hayes, Andrew F. (2013). Introduction to Mediation, Moderation, and Conditional Process Analysis: A Regression-Based Approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Ho, Colin, and Jackson, Jay W. (2001). Attitudes toward Asian Americans: Theory and Measurement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31(8): 15531581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jackson, Lynne M. (2020). The Psychology of Prejudice: From Attitudes to Social Action. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jorgensen, Miriam (Ed.) (2007). Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
Krause, Caitlin, and Ramos, Howard (2015). Sharing the Same Waters. British Journal of Canadian Studies, 28(1): 2341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kunesh, Patrice (2009). Constant Tribal Governments: Tribal Resilience and Regeneration in Changing Times. Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy 19: 846.Google Scholar
Kawai, Yuko (2005). Stereotyping Asian Americans: The Dialectic of the Model Minority and the Yellow Peril. The Howard Journal of Communication, 16(2): 109130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lacroix, Celeste C. (2011). High Stakes Stereotypes: The Emergence of the “Casino Indian” Trope in Television Depictions of Contemporary Native Americans. The Howard Journal of Communications, 22(1): 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langford, Tom, and Ponting, J. Rick (1992). Canadians’ Responses to Aboriginal Issues: The Role of Prejudice, Perceived Group Conflict, and Economic Conservatism. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 29(2): 140166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Larson, Stephanie G. (2006). Media & Minorities: The Politics of Race in News and Entertainment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
Mackey, Eva (2016). Unsettled Expectations: Uncertainty, Land, and Settler Decolonization. Halifax, Canada: Fernwood.Google Scholar
McCune, Meghan Y. (2018). “It’s a Question of Fairness”: Fee-To-Trust and Opposition to Haudenosaunee Land Rights and Economic Development. In Gercken, Becca and Pelletier, Julie (Eds.), Gambling on Authenticity: Gaming, the Noble Savage, and the Not-So-New Indian, pp. 111134. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.Google Scholar
Musu-Gillette, Lauren, Robinson, Jennifer, McFarland, Joel, KewalRamani, Angelina, Zhang, Anlan, and Wilkerson-Flicker, Sidney (2016). Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2016. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, National Center of Educational Statistics.Google Scholar
National Indian Gaming Commission (2018). Gaming Tribe Report (Sorted by State). Updated 7/12/18. Scholar
Paolacci, Gabriele, Chandler, Jesse, and Ipeirotis, Panagiotis (2010). Running Experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Judgment and Decision Making, 5(5): 411419.Google Scholar
Reclaiming Native Truth Project (2018). Research Findings: Compilation of All Research. First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting.Google Scholar
Riek, Blake M., Mania, Eric W., and Gaertner, Samuel L. (2006). Intergroup Threat and Outgroup Attitudes: A Meta-Analytic Review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(4): 336353.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Robertson, Dwanna L. (2015). Invisibility in the Color-Blind Era: Examining Legitimized Racism against Indigenous Peoples. American Indian Quarterly, 39(2): 113153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosenfield, Geraldine (1982). The Polls: Attitudes toward American Jews. Public Opinion Quarterly, 46(3): 431443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rouse, Linda P., and Hanson, Jeffrey R. (1991). American Indian Stereotyping, Resource Competition, and Status-Based Prejudice. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 15(3): 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scheepers, Peer, Gijberts, Merove, and Coenders, Marcel (2002). Ethnic Exclusionism in European Countries: Public Opposition to Civil Rights for Legal Migrants as a Response to Perceived Ethnic Threat. European Sociological Review, 18(1): 1734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schlueter, Elmar, and Scheepers, Peer (2010). The Relationship between Outgroup Size and Anti-Outgroup Attitudes: A Theoretical Synthesis and Empirical Test of Group Threat and Intergroup Contact Theory. Social Science Research, 39(2): 285295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schlueter, Elmar, Schmidt, Peter, and Wagner, Ulrich (2008). Disentangling the Causal Relations of Perceived Group Threat and Outgroup Derogation: Cross-National Evidence from German and Russian Panel Surveys. European Sociological Review, 24(5): 567581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Semyonov, Moche, Raijman, Rebeca, Tov, Anat Y., and Schmidt, Peter (2004). Population Size, Perceived Threat, and Exclusion: A Multiple-Indicators Analysis of Attitudes toward Foreigners in Germany. Social Science Research, 33(4): 681701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Senter, Mary S., and Ling, David A. (2017). “It’s Almost like They Were Happier When You Were Down”: Microaggressions and Overt Hostility against Native Americans in a Community with Gaming. Sociological Inquiry, 87(2): 256281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spears, Daniel L., and Boger, Carl A. (2002). Residents’ Perceptions and Attitudes towards Native American Gaming (NAG) in Kansas: Proximity and Number of Trips to NAG Activity. UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, 6(2): 1227.Google Scholar
Stephan, Walter G., and Renfro, Lausanne C. (2002). The Role of Threat in Intergroup Relations. In Mackie, Diane M. and Smith, Eliot R. (Eds.), From Prejudice to Intergroup Emotions: Differential Reactions to Social Groups, pp. 191207. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Stephan, Walter G., and Stephan, Cookie W. (2000). An Integrated Threat Theory of Prejudice. In Oskamp, Stuart (Ed.), Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination, pp. 2336. Mahwah, NJ: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Strommer, Geoffrey D., and Osborne, Stephen D. (2014). The History, Status, and Future of Tribal Self-Governance under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. American Indian Law Review, 39(1): 175.Google Scholar
Tan, Alexis, Fujioka, Yuki, and Lucht, Nancy (1997). Native American Stereotypes, TV Portrayals, and Personal Contact. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 74(2): 265284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
United States Census Bureau (2017). Profile American Facts for Features: CB17-FF.20 American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2017. Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau. (accessed May 5, 2020).Google Scholar
United States Department of Health and Human Services (2015). Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey. Table P-1a Age-adjusted percent distribution (with standard errors) of respondent-assessed health status, by selected characteristics: United States, 2015. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health&Human Services, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, and National Center for Health Statistics. (accessed May 5, 2020).+(accessed+May+5,+2020).>Google Scholar
Weinberg, Jill D., Freese, Jeremy, and McElhatan, David (2014). Comparing Data Characteristics and Results of an Online Factorial Survey between a Population-Based and a Crowdsource-Recruited Sample. Sociological Science, 1: 292310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wohl, Michael J. A., Tabri, Nassim, Hollingshead, Samantha J., Dupris, Darcy R., and Caoutte, Julie (2019). Empathetic Collective Angst Predicts Perpetrator Group Members’ Support for the Empowerment of the Victimized Group. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(6): 10831104.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wilkins, David E., and Stark, Heidi K. (2018). American Indian Politics and the American Political System. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
Wilson, Thomas C. (2001). Americans’ Views on Immigration Policy: Testing the Role of Threatened Group Interests. Sociological Perspectives, 44(4): 485501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *