The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that states had no regulatory control over gaming conducted on Indian land (California v. Cabazon ). State governments reacted with alarm and Congress began development of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In 1988, IGRA became law after tribes and states reached a compromise to give states unprecedented joint authority over tribal government gaming. This is achieved through tribal-state gaming compact negotiations, such as those affirmed by compacts, the contents of which were made legal by voter passage of Proposition 1A in California in March 2000. IGRA recognizes the right of tribes to conduct similar gaming on tribal land in states where such gaming is permitted outside the reservation for other purposes. IGRA also emphasizes the dire economic need of tribes, and gaming is one of the few revenue producing ventures that have generated income for tribal governments. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act creates three classes of tribal gaming:
Social games for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming as part of tribal ceremonies or celebrations.
Bingo and related games, including pull tabs, lotto, punch boards, tip jars, instant bingo and some card games, excluding house banked card games.
All forms of gaming that are not Class I or Class II, including video lottery terminals, slot machines and house banked table games, like blackjack, roulette and dice games. Only Class III games require tribal-state compacts.
In 1994, the Pechanga General Council approved the Pechanga Gaming Ordinance, establishing the Pechanga Gaming Commission, and setting forth the duties and responsibilities of that regulatory authority.
The Pechanga Gaming Commission is charged with acting on behalf of the tribe in matters regarding the protection of gaming assets (money, facilities, services and equipment), as well as to protect customers, plus safeguard the integrity of the games from fraud or mismanagement.
Under tribal law, the Pechanga Gaming Commission has the responsibility to regulate all gaming activity on the Pechanga Reservation and also is responsible for submitting reports as required to the National Indian Gaming Commission. No activity relating to the operation of the Pechanga Resort & Casino is exempt from review and inspection by the Pechanga Gaming Commission, nor is any member of management or employee exempt from the provisions of the ordinance and regulations.