San Manuel Tribe Doubles Down on Responsible Gaming, Partners with UNLV

Posted on: April 12, 2022, 08:47h. 

Last updated on: April 13, 2022, 09:39h.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians was bestowed the distinguished award of “Responsible Business of the Year” during the 2021 Global Gaming Awards. The California-based gaming tribe is further committing its pledge to conduct gaming in a responsible manner.

San Manuel casino Palms responsible gaming
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians celebrate the opening of the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino expansion in December of 2021. The tribe announced this week a partnership with UNLV to develop new responsible gaming programs to better align with the growing industry. (Image: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians)

Through the tribe’s gaming unit — the San Manuel Entertainment Authority (SMEA) — the Native American group yesterday announced a partnership with UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. The pact’s mission is to develop “a next-generation responsible gaming program.”

SMEA says its goal has always been to implement safeguards to ensure that gaming remains a fun and safe leisure activity.

Last year, the tribe renamed its flagship casino in Highland, Ca., east of Los Angeles, to the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel. The tribe will open the Palms in Las Vegas later this month. SMEA acquired the off-Strip casino resort for $650 million from Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos in May of 2021.

Tribe Major Benefactor

In early 2020, the San Manuel Indians bestowed the hospitality and law schools at UNLV with a $9 million gift to develop courses and programs focused on tribal gaming. The gift also established the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Endowed Chair in Tribal Gaming.

That same year, the San Manuel Indians announced a $14 million donation to Claremont Graduate University in California to build a research facility called the Yuhaaviatam Center for Health Studies.

Now, the tribe is pouring more funds into strengthening responsible gaming protections. The San Manuel tribe did not disclose what sort of financial commitment is included with its UNLV partnership.

The SMEA press release on the UNLV gift says the gift is warranted as sports betting and online gaming continue to proliferate in the US. The tribe says SEMA officials will collaborate with responsible gaming experts at UNLV to research and develop new responsible gaming programs.

Yaamava’ is one of the top tribal casinos in terms of gaming revenue in the entire country. It’s also one of the US’s largest tribal or commercial casinos. The resort’s gaming floor offers more than 6,500 slot machines and 120 table games.

SMEA’s Palms will greatly increase the tribe’s gaming footprint. When the Las Vegas casino opens on April 27, it will offer 1,500 slots, dozens of table games, and sports betting.

By the Numbers

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) estimates that about two million US adults — or roughly 1% of the US adult population — meet the criteria for severe gambling problems in a given year. Another 4-6 million adults (2-3%) are considered to have a mild or moderate gambling disorder.

“Everyone who provides gambling opportunities has a responsibility to develop policies and programs to address problem gambling issues,” the NCPG said.