Tribal Sovereignty and NA Casino oversight

The ambiguities of tribal sovereignty, the difficulties thereby created for State regulatory scrutiny of Native American casinos (at least, in NM, but likely also in other jurisdictions) create a target-rich environment for house cheating on all games without fear of being snagged.  Players would be well advised to recognize this fact and watch carefully what happens around them.

The following ‘poem’ describes an event as it actually happened in a casino in New Mexico.  I was sitting at that single-deck blackjack table, $3 minimum, $75 table max.  The names of the casinos in the poem are changed, naturally.  NM casinos are NA owned, but Rocco manages them, if you get my meaning.


Familiar Spirits

Arroyo Seco fortune shifted
First hand after Mary,
Toothless Navajo vieja,
Wrinkles doubled under weight
Of  old pawn turquoise
And silver squash blossom
Groaned into second base
3 dollar minimum
Single deck felt
Behind her walker

Plunked down three white chips

Cards turned

Three green button table max,
Weathered gamblers
Plus Mary and the dealer
All drew blackjacks in a single hand

“Ha.”  Steel grip on walker
Hand raised in ‘How!’ salute:

“Ha!”  Plowed brown field surrounds
Frozen narrowed slits of eye

Players, dealer, pit-boss, hangers on
Transfixed on sunlight shaft
In silent forest
Only birdsong
Slot machines

“The tables have an evil spirit!”

Chairs emptied
Puzzled drink server
Stands with tray
Two cokes and one black coffee
Vacant gazing search
For missing thirst

Laguna, Navajo, Acoma,
Mexican and white
Play down the road at Desert Fox

Although they’ve burned sage
Purged the evil
Cleansed the spirits

No dice

Four aces only
In an unenlightened
Single deck


From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002, Jack Purcell

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