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Washington Post takes a closer look at Kahnawake Mohawk interests
Clearly as part of the build-up to Sunday's Sixty Minutes program on Internet poker, on which it collaborated, the Washington Post published the first part of an article on the Mohawks of Kahnawake over the weekend.
Post writer Gilbert M. Gaul reported on the ownership of Absolute Poker.com and UltimateBet.com by naming Joseph Tokwiro Norton, former grand chief of the Kahnawake Mohawk tribe located on a reservation near Montreal, through his company Tokwiro Enterprises.
In an interesting article, Gaul follows the career of Norton from his early years as a 28-year-old iron worker helping to build New York City's World Trade Centre. Gaul comments that at first glance, Norton and the Kahnawake might seem like surprising players to control a large share of the $18 billion Internet gambling business.
However, when Norton was elected first to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, the governing body for the 8 000-member tribe, and two years later to the position of Grand Chief, he set the Mohawks on a course that was to result in one of the world's largest online gambling hosting and licensing facilities in close proximity to Montreal, the introduction of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and a multi-million dollar continuing income stream for the tribe, which had previously subsisted on cigarette sales and federal government payouts.
The transition followed earlier efforts by Norton to persuade the tribe to open a land-based Indian tribal casino, a proposal twice defeated by tribal referendum. This motivated Norton to look at the opportunities gambling presented from another angle - that of the burgeoning Internet, where he made the Mohawks a pioneering licensing jurisdiction, asserting their First Nation sovereignty rights.
Two decades later, in mid-2004, Norton resigned as Grand Chief, leaving a thriving Internet gambling industry that included a regulatory commission, a world-class hosting facility and Mohawk Internet Technologies, a technology firm on the reservation where he continued to work for two years following his resignation from the tribal leadership.
Gaul points out that online gambling sites that apply for a Kahnawake license are required to place their computer servers in an air conditioned and top security server farm on the reservation for a minimum of three years, and he claims that Mohawk Internet Technologies collects millions in fees annually from these rentals, with most of the profits ploughed back into the company.
Gaul reports that Norton's next move was into gambling company ownership when he bought UltimateBet and Absolute Poker in 2006 on deferred terms, although the change of ownership was not announced for a further year. The two sites were subsequently embroiled in massive multi-million dollar cheating scandals perpetrated through software flaws for which the company recently benefited from a settlement with Excapsa - the previous owner - worth some $15 million.
The Washington Post piece goes on to examine more recent business deals involving the Mohawks, in particular their acquisition of a 40 percent stake in an Isle of Man company, Continent 8 Technologies.
This company, part owned by a former Kahnawake consultant named Michael Tobin, operates an Internet server farm for gambling Web sites and other businesses, and offers the Kahnawake a potentially lucrative portal to the growing European market for online gambling.
The Kahnawake were in the right place at the right time, said current Grand Chief, Michael Delisle. "It was a field not yet occupied....we were the first ones into it." Delisle said the Kahnawake have received "millions" from their Internet gambling ventures, and have used the money to support a native language program and other community efforts. He added that Internet gambling supports about 150 jobs on the reservation.
The Kahnawake view their recent investment in Continent 8 as a way to protect their gambling franchise, writes Gaul. "Five years ago, the Kahnawake was the fastest place to be," he was told by John Bud Morris, the executive director of the Kahnawake Economic Development Commission. "Today, that's not necessarily true."
Unfortunately, Norton declined to be interviewed by Gaul, although he provided the writer with "a few financial details about his Internet poker sites."
Mybet Earnings Struggle -
The statement this week reveals that Mybet continued to be hampered by negative trends from historic quarters, making its original performance estimate "unrealistic".
Tom Horn Awarded Malta Gaming License -
Online gambling software provider Tom Horn Gaming has been awarded a Malta Gaming Authority license that permits the company to host and manage Malta-based gaming operators.
Calvin Ayre invests in new Antigua Business Center -
Ayre joined with government officials this week in a ground-breaking ceremony for a five-story centre on Antigua which will be home for the venture. The "green" building will be solar powered and provide employee-friendly services like catering, a gym and child care.
Attack of the Zombies Slot -
Online gambling games developer Genesis Gaming has unveiled its latest game, with a theme based on a horror story of the undead, exploiting the current trend....and just in time for Halloween.
Why is FullFlush Poker Still Down -
Its now almost a month since Full Flush Poker went offline "for a platform upgrade" and stopped communicating with its reportedly many unpaid and unhappy players. All trace of the operator - and means to communicate with it - have vanished.
Time Running Our For Pennsylvanian online gambling -
Hopes that this week would see the Pennsylvanian Senate voting on an online gambling and DFS legalization bill already passed by the House four months ago dwindled Wednesday when no progress was made and the legislatures season officially closed.
Yggdrasil Gaming Expanding -
The Swedish online gambling games developer Yggdrasil Gaming is to establish a new parent company and expand its Stockholm office as it bolsters its presence in Sweden with a raft of new hires.
FanDuel and DraftKings Settle With NY Attorney General -
Speculation earlier this week that daily fantasy sports market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings were about to agree a settlement on consumer fraud suits prepared by the New York AG was confirmed Tuesday when a $12 million settlement was announced.
Stan james Now Live With EPOS -
The company switched to the Optima server less system across its entire estate in July after previously using Optima EPOS technology. The switch was completed early this (October) month and has already delivered noteworthy savings for the company.
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