Saturday October 8, 2011 : Seneca leader says American corporate gambling groups are seeking "an instant monopoly".
Internet gambling was in the news again as the week ended, with Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter, testifying before a Senate committee in Washington, and critical of what he sees as the major American gambling corporates "seeking an instant monopoly" in legalised online gambling.
The tribal leader lashed out at what he perceives to be the latest threat to the tribe’s sovereignty: an attempt by corporate casino owners to shut Indian tribes out of a coming boom in Internet gambling, according to a report in the Buffalo News.
The big casino companies are seeking “an instant monopoly” over Internet gaming by urging Congress to pass legalization that would allow them to enter the market first, Porter told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
“Like land homesteaders and gold stake claimers before them, these Nevada and New Jersey moguls see Indian gaming as a competitive threat and are determined to shove Indian gaming away from the table or, at best, deal Indian gaming a short hand,” Porter said.
The tribal leader claimed that corporate casinos are aiming to get Congress to regulate online gambling, describing their efforts as "…a brazen power grab premised on the fiction that the big Nevada and New Jersey interests are alone sophisticated enough to operate Internet gaming in the first wave.”
Asked by the committee whether the tribes would be able to run their own internet gambling operations, Porter unequivocally responded: “I have no question that we would be able to compete and thrive.”
After the hearing, Porter told the Buffalo News that the Seneca nation is not pushing Internet gambling, but wants to be able to participate if Congress opens up the market.
Michael J. Pollock, managing director of the Spectrum Gaming Group, told the newspaper that early drafts of proposed legalization measures had not considered the interests of tribal groups, and described this as "mind boggling."