Tribes Want To Regulate Themselves in Internet Gambling

The congressional hearing held recently, invited a tribal delegate of NIGA (National Indian Gaming Association) to participate. In the testimony, the delegate made demands for certain rights to be conferred upon the tribes, in case the legalization of online gambling becomes a reality. He told the sub-committee that the manner in which the present proposed legislation of online poker has been worded is not acceptable, as far as the interests of tribes are concerned.

Tribes Fear Internet Gambling’s Legalization will Threaten their Gains

The proposed bill on online poker’s legalization HR2366 states that individual states will have regulatory power. The bill also proposed that the land casinos of the US receive the first set of licenses. Firms offering gambling products in countries like Nevada will be allowed to accept players from others states operating under regulated jurisdictions. Tribes claim that the proposed bill will be in direct conflict with the IGRA or Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed in the year 1988.

The key purpose behind the enactment of the IGRA was to protect the interests of tribes. It proposed that gaming regulations be designed in a way that is capable of generating revenues for tribes. The development of the NIGA was also a result of IGRA.

IGRA had distinguished three classes of games offered in the industry. The act established different sets of regulations for games falling under each category. Card games and bingo belonged to a group which is played against players and not the house. IGRA allowed tribes become the regulators of such games.

Tribes Request Rights to Regulate Themselves if Internet Poker Legalizes

The tribes have requested certain rights to be conferred of them, if internet gambling becomes legalized. It has been stated that the legislation should be willing to acknowledge tribes as entities eligible to regulate themselves. It has also been requested that tribes be freed from taxation for participating as regulators and operators. Internet operations of tribes should be made available to players of countries where online gambling is legal. The tribes also claimed that legislation should make IGRA free from amendments of all types. The legalization act should be designed in a way that the interests of Indian tribes can be addressed.

Lawmakers Raise Questions on Proposal to treat Tribes Differently

Stevens, the NIGA chairman, was questioned by legislators regarding the reason for tribes to be treated differently from the rest. In reply, Stevens stated that the tribes are experienced in the field of regulating online gambling in the US, and they want to be recognized as a group capable of ruling themselves.

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