Thursday March 20,2014 : TRIBES STRESS NEED FOR INVOLVEMENT IN CALIFORNIA LEGALISATION MOVES
With optimism increasing that California might at last legalise online poker, the tribes ramp up publicity on their position.
Prominent tribal gaming spokesmen have been ramping up the coverage on the sovereign nations position on California online poker legalization as state lawmakers focus closely on the prospect in the current session of the legislature.
Speaking to Casino Enterprise Magazine this week in the latest statement of tribal interest, Ernie Stevens, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association which represents the interests of 184 tribes, summarised the tribal standpoint in saying:
"At the heart of the Internet gaming debate, tribes are simply asking to be able to compete on an equal footing. To protect tribal sovereignty and ensure equal access to the market, any Internet gaming legalization should be subjected to the full legislative process, including hearings and markups in both the state Senate and the House of Representatives. Conversely, if jurisdictions are going to ban Internet gaming, we must look at the impacts on tribal gaming operations in those areas as well."
Stevens went on to enunciate the central principles driving tribal interest in online gambling:
* Indian tribes are sovereign governments with a right to operate, regulate, tax and licence Internet gaming, and those rights must not be subordinated to any non-federal authority;
* Internet gaming authorised by Indian tribes must be available to customers in any locale where Internet gaming is not criminally prohibited;
* Consistent with long-existing federal law and policy, tribal revenues must not be subject to tax;
* Existing tribal government rights under tribal-state compacts and IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) must be respected;
* The legalization must not open the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for amendments;
* Federal legalization of Internet gaming must provide positive economic benefits for Indian communities;
* Indian tribes possess the inherent right to opt in to a federal regulatory scheme to ensure broad-based access to markets.