Native American tribes have opened casinos in nearly half the states, most of them since 1990. As of March, 183 of the nation’s 557 federally registered tribes ran 274 separate gaming operations, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal regulatory body. An estimated five to ten percent of all commercial casinos are owned by Indian tribes. ‘Casino gaming is seen as the only allowable thing that encourages economic growth on Indian reservations’, says David Melmer, managing editor of Indian Country Today. However, only about five percent of Indian casinos are making big profits. ‘The rest may employ 40 to 100 people. They’re like mom and pop operations,’ says Melmer.