According to his website biography, “Donald J. Trump is the very definition of the American success story.” If this is true, the definition of success in America is controversial. In his recent political career, Trump has been criticised for his controversial statement about minorities, but his business career has been no different: the Native American population, for one, have had a number of unpleasant run-ins with Trump over their special status in the gaming industry.
In 1993, he made unsubstantiated claims that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut had been infiltrated by a number of organised crime groups. It was perhaps no coincidence that their casino in Connecticut was impeding his plans to open one of his own in Bridgeport. In the end, Trump’s plans failed and the Pequot Nation’s Foxwoods Casino has since gone on to become one of the largest and most successful in the country.
In the year 2000, Donald Trump took over management of the Indian-owned Twenty-Nine Palms Casino, adding his Trump brand name in the process. This lasted for five years, during which it is thought Trump ran the casino into the ground: the tribe themselves offered him $6m to leave soon after Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy in 2004.
What will happen to the status of Native American casinos should Donald Trump assume the presidency of the US? He has angered Natives in his presidential campaign by claiming that, should he take office, he will reverse the decision by Obama to rename a mountain in Alaska from Mount McKinley to its Indian name: Denali. Might he also try to crackdown on the Indian casino industry?
Earlier this year, we did a study of Native American casinos and their unusual role in the US economy. You can take a look at the infographic below.