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Developing tribal casino employees as conduits for tribal government messaging


  • Ponting, Sandra Sun-Ah
  • Ponting, Jess
  • Spilde, Katherine


Since the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988, tribal government gaming has become the most successful economic development strategy across Indian Country in the United States, with no other viable alternatives on the horizon. Being a highly regulated industry, tribal government gaming, like the legal gambling industry in general, takes place at the grace of legislation that reflects public opinion and commands public policy support. As such, tribal governments invest significant resources to manage public perceptions of their communities, their gaming rights, and their political status. Tribal gaming facilities on tribal lands, and more specifically tribal gaming customer–contact employees, represent a key interface between the general public and American Indian tribal communities. This paper presents research findings that explore the nature and source of knowledge by tribal gaming customer–contact employees in four tribally-owned casinos in California with a view to understand the role of tribal casino customer–contact employees as information conduits, and makes recommendations concerning how employees may be better leveraged to transmit carefully constructed tribal government messaging to the wider population. In particular, this paper highlights the gap between the legal and political status of the tribal government owners of tribal gaming facilities and the (often incorrect) perceptions of tribal communities that are often communicated by customer-facing employees to tribal casino guests.

Suggested Citation

  • Ponting, Sandra Sun-Ah & Ponting, Jess & Spilde, Katherine, 2015. "Developing tribal casino employees as conduits for tribal government messaging," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2140-2145.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:68:y:2015:i:10:p:2140-2145
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.03.013

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