Constitutional Regulation on Gambling


Legalized gambling is developing a major social and economic issue in the western states with the first effects seen on the tourism industry and the business climate (US Commission on Ocean Policy, 2004). While many economists and industrialists have pointed out that gambling is a very profitable activity, others have termed it as regression the industrial development. Many arguments have centered on the role of gambling in the economic growth of a nation and studies have confirmed that casinos and other gambling games can really boost the economy of nation if the laid constitutional regulations guiding the gambling are adhered to (Lehne, 2001). Therefore, the paper will analyze the Constitutional Regulation on Gambling in the State of Mississippi.

The state of Mississippi permits gambling as form of charity with many gambling and porker clubs opens doors for Native American Casinos. Efforts have been made through out the United States of America to legalize casino. In the 19th century, voters in America rejected a plan for creating a state organ that could have legalized all forms of gambling including casinos (Leiper, 2002). It was in 1998 after several rejection of gambling bills and amendment of American constitution to block initiation of casinos that native tribes sponsored a legislative bill to mandate the federal government allow them start casino games in United States. The Native Americans invested over $70 million in this effort and consequently bill passed overwhelmingly. The constitution was then amended in March 2000, to allow Native American operate casinos in American states

Constitutional regulation on gambling in Mississippi

Eadington (2006) notes that the growth of casino industry in Mississippi has attracted great observations and criticism from politicians, economists, general public and interest groups concerning the justification for their existence. The casino gambling in Mississippi was driven by a combination of diffusion, constitutional, political and political factors. Economic factors formed the major factor for the expansion of casinos because statistics from many industries indicated a growth in sales in places that had established casinos. On a clear note, casinos have been increasing the benefits of Mississippi economy for the communities living along the Gulf Coast because of improved tourism and Tunica area that has experienced increased economic development due to early establishment of casinos in the area. Additionally, there has been eruption of better paying jobs, increased tax revenue and growing real state market because of increased population both natives and tourists. Additionally, leaders opposed to the casino industry have also agreed that the industry is impressive and driving the economy to the development side.

 US Congress and the Coastline Preservation Act of 2002

The increase in possible terrorist attacks to the developed nations has forced the world super powers to restrict movement and settlement of people from other nations into their lands. United States of America considers ports as a major target for the entry of terrorists thus in 2002, the USA congress passed the famous Coastline Preservation Act that provided that all the land along coastal strips and tide land in all federal states are the property US and should never be sold or leased for private business or ownership but only for government use. This step was intended to cut down he number of immigrants into the Federal States of America and consequently reduce chances of attacks. However, the act proved effective in closing opportunities for investors from other countries.

The US Congress was justified to pass the Coastline Preservation Act of 2002, because the constitution mandates the government to protect its citizens from both external and internal attacks. Furthermore, the constitution provides that the government ensure that coastal lands of every federal state are developed for the economic benefit of that state. This can only be done if the costal lands are free from terrorist fears and entry of unauthorized persons. Coastal properties have been a very financial resource for many federal states due to the amount of tax generated from tourists thus controlling the boarders will increase safety and attract more tourists.

Presidential Executive Orders

The Federal States though not sovereign have their own laws and regulations that shouldn’t be interfered with by the central government (Gabe, Kinsey, and Loveridge, 1996). The state Mississippi passed a law in 1991 that allowed casinos to operate in its coastal strips. However, the casino companies were supposed to build their lottery centers at the tidelands only and were not own or lease land in other part of the state. However, due to the positive change of the economy\y of Mississippi after the introduction of casinos, the Mississippi federal government decided to sell some land to Verde Verdad Casino and Resort Holdings Inc. (VVH) which is the largest casino company is Spain so that more casinos can be established and continue boosting the economy.

This is the deal that made the US president to exercise the executive order 56 by directing the Department of Justice to file a case against the State Secretary of Mississippi for selling land to foreign companies which is against the federal laws and constitution. However, the president did overstep the independence of the Mississippi as a federal state because the Federal law states that, every state must use both the local and central resources to improve growth of its economy. In this order the president cited the constitution that like tidelands, all wetlands are regulated VVH for personal gains.

Constitutional Authority of EPA

The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) strengthens the federal and state legal authorities in controlling water pollution along the state coasts as well as providing the environmental obligations of the federal government and the individual states (Gazel, 1997). Section 30 (a) of the federal Clean Water Agency (CWA) requires EPA to develop risky based criteria for provision of safe and quality water. It’s from such a mandate that EPA used the federal constitutional authority in passing Rule 18 – D which restricts establishment of gambling centers in wetlands because most of the water that is used for domestic, institutional and industrial activities is sourced from the wetlands. Establishment of casinos in the wetlands could have led to disturbance of the water springs.

The EPA did not exceed its constitutional authority in passing the 18-d rule because its purpose is to protect the wetlands so that the state residents get clean water that is pure from contamination. Section 319 of the Non-point Source Pollution Program empowers the EPA to grant, develop and implement statewide programs of managing non-point sources of water pollution. However, EPA was politically influenced by the federal government because safe construction of the casino centers could be ensured to avoid pollution of water from the wetlands used for domestic purposes.

Federal law in allocation of land

Legally, the parameters marking the boundaries of a state or nation are given by writing readings from courts and may vary from one geographical region to the next. During the colonial periods, Federal land was reserved for American citizens only. However, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 authorized the relocation of Indian tribes from the east of Mississippi river to its west on permanent land allocations. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed adult aliens to submit claims for they had left. Both the Dawes Act (1887) and Curtis Act (1898) reaffirmed allocation of tribal land to aliens in federal states. Current the allocation of land in all US federal states is guided by the US constitution which gives first opportunity to citizens, Native aliens and immigrants in that order. However, a particular state may have special laws that govern how to allocate its land but the laws must be in accordance with the US Constitution.

The state of Mississippi did not violate any law in allocating land to Choctaw
Nation because an earlier amendment of the US federal laws allowed tribal nations within the boundaries of the federal states to have sovereign government and manage their separate resources including lands. However, in allocation land to VVH, the Mississippi state evaded the both federal laws and state statutes though it anticipated the benefits that would accrue from the establishment of permanent casinos in its wetlands would change the economy.

Ownership of land in Mississippi

In Mississippi State, any legal entity or natural person is entitled to have a title deed to a apiece of land with the exception of non resident aliens. According to laws of land and ownership in Mississippi, resident aliens may own and dispose land as provided by the law. Non resident aliens may own up to 320 acres of land in the state of Mississippi only for industrial development and five acres only for residential purposes. Legal business entities like companies and partnerships may own land in Mississippi provided the land exploitation will only be used for business ventures.

There are severally recognized federal American tribes including Africans and Indians who are considered sovereign entities within the larger federal states. The acquisition of real property in Mississippi is similar to other federal states. However, for both resident and non resident aliens, purchase of land is only to the limited areas that have set aside for them. Therefore, as a tribal sovereignty, Choctaw Nation has no authority to acquire land outside the prescribed and preserved and incorporate such purchased property into the reserved areas for aliens.  Thus the move by VVH to use Choctaw Nation in acquiring some parts of the wetlands is a violation of the federal constitution that is punishable by the law.

Laws governing development of land in Mississippi

 United States relies on two set of laws that govern use and development of land depending on the ownership. The first set of laws governs the use of land that is owned by the central government and the use of such land is restricted to structures funded by the central government and beneficial to all federal states. The other set of laws govern the development and use of land at the federal state levels where land owned by the federal state government is used for the benefit of those state citizens. In addition, at the state level, the land owned by the aliens is developed by the aliens for their benefit.

Therefore, Choctaw Nation did not  the violate Mississippi law by building a casino on the tide lands because the state of Mississippi has allocated and passed a law that the land is under the tribal aliens and they can use the land to their economic value. However, the proposition by VVH to deed the wetlands under the Choctaw Nation will be a violation of the Mississippi law because wetlands are not part of the allocated land for aliens.

Effects of law violators as per the federal constitution

In a state like Mississippi where there is a mix of laws between those from central government and those from the Mississippi state laws there may be a dilemma when dealing with law violators.  The Federal laws do not have a clear demarcation on the violations that should be arbitrated by the central government and those to be arbitrated by the state governments in cases that affect the aliens. Furthermore, for the sovereign alien communities, the complication may increase further when it comes to arbitrating a violation that spans to both the state and central authorities. This is the kind of situation experienced in the City of Biloxi because the violation of the law may be tried in either of three points.

For instance, suppose Choctaw Nation or VVH have violated one of the Acts in establishing casinos in wetlands which is prohibited by both the central and the state authorities, then the mediation of such a case may present a dilemma in the point where the case should be arbitrate from; either the central government or the federal state authorities. However, recent amendments of the US constitution seem to take care of this confusion in attending cases related American Natives. On the other hand, Eminent Domain laws can be imposed in the city of Biloxi so that land that could have been acquired through improper procedures can be reclaimed back by the state.


In conclusion, the examination of US relationship with international trade system leaves many questions because the US federal government is more concerned about its security more that economic development and believes more in internal investments. This has locked out many prospective investors not only I gambling but in other economical sectors. Additionally, the constitutional regulation in ownership, allocation and development of land in federal states by foreigners is very restrictive. The laws that govern allocation and ownership of land by foreigners should be reviewed to allow investors venture in to the federal states business market.

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