UNLV Law Forms ‘Indian Nations Gaming and Governance Program’

Published on: September 29, 2022, 10:14 a.m.

Last update on: September 30, 2022, 4:19 a.m.

The William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) has named the first leaders of its new Indian gambling program.

San Manuel Indian Tribal Games UNLV Act
Jennifer Carleton and John Tahsuda direct the Indian Nations Gaming and Governance program at UNLV Law. The program was created with a $3 million donation from the San Manuel Mission Indian Band. (Image: Casino.org)

In February 2020, the San Manuel Mission Indian Band awarded UNLV with a donation of 9 million dollars. Of the contribution, $3 million was allocated to the law school to form a new curriculum focused on Indian gambling initiatives.

The law school recently appointed Jennifer Carleton and John Tahsuda to lead its next focus on Indian games. Carleton and Tahsuda would establish and develop the program and create India’s “first-of-its-kind experiential game learning program”.

Carleton is the legal director of Sightline Payments, a position she took on last year after working for more than 14 years as a gaming lawyer. Tahsuda is director of Navigators Global, a government affairs think tank in DC. He is also the Managing Director of Innovative Tribal Strategies, LLC, an Indian consulting firm that provides strategic advice to Native American businesses.

Next Generation of Tribal Lawyers

The remaining $6 million of San Manuel’s donation was allocated to UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hospitality – another UNLV school named for one of the early pioneers of Las Vegas casinos. The grant is being used to integrate courses on tribal games into the hotel college’s current curriculum.

The San Manuel Indians are based in San Bernardino County, Southern California. The tribe’s main economic engine is the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino in San Manuel. The huge casino has over 7,000 slot machines and 150 table games.

The $3 million donation from the UNLV Law Tribe is intended to train future leaders in the tribal gaming industry. The endowment will fund research and training on Native American gambling, regulation and governance.

The program was established in 2020 through a generous gift from the San Manuel Mission Indian Band and includes specialized academic training for JD and LLM students, public programming for diverse audiences, academic and policy research, as well as conferences and symposia examining current issues in tribal games and governance. The professors and leaders of the program have extensive experience in the areas of education, gaming, federal Indian law, tribal law and governance,” explained a statement from UNLV.

UNLV opened the William S. Boyd School of Law in 1998 and graduated with its first degree in 2001. The school is named after the co-founder of Boyd Gaming, who is also a Nevada attorney and remains co-chairman of his company eponymous casino. .

San Manuel enters Nevada

UNLV said in 2020 that the San Manuel Tribe’s $9 million endowment was its largest out-of-state philanthropic donation to date.

The tribe has since invested in Nevada through the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. San Manuel acquired the off-strip property of Red Rock Resorts/Station Casino in May 2021 for $650 million.

The tribe continues to be a community steward in Las Vegas. In addition to his $9 million donation to UNLV Law, San Manuel, in April 2022announced a partnership with the UNLV International Gambling Institute to develop “a next-generation responsible gambling program.”

The tribe did not specify what type of financial commitment it pledged for the initiative.

Helen D. Jessen