Indian casinos are free to set paybacks as low as the tribes and their casino operators wish in order to maximize profits. They can change their payback percentage at any time to any level they wish. There are no limits and no controls. A recent letter I received from the National Indian Gaming Commission states “The NIGC does not establish minimum pay out percentages; that is up to each tribal operation to determine for themselves.”
A decision in 1999 in the federal case “Missouri ex rel. Nixon v Coeur D’Alene Tribe” preempted the states in which Indian casinos are located to regulate gambling. This information was obtained from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. The 1994 compact between NC Governor Jim Hunt and the Eastern Band of Cherokees requiring a minimum payback of 83% was preempted by this court decision. Based on personal experience and online reviews of other Harrah’s Cherokee Casino patrons, the payback is probably well below 50%. This is true for most Indian casinos.
These are the reasons why it is impossible to get an Indian casino to tell you their payback percentage - THERE IS NOT ANY MINIMUM!