Monday November 5, 2012 : SASKATCHEWAN FIRST NATION ONLINE CASINO SET FOR LAUNCH (Update)
Despite no dialogue with Canadian Authorities
The Saskatchewan First Nation tribe's first online casino in conjunction with the GeoBET Gambling Network is set for launch this week according to The Star Phoenix newspaper.
The move is sure to illicit a response from Canadian provincial and/or federal government over the legality of the offering, however, Bernie Shepherd, the former Chief of the White Bear and the driving force behind Indian owned land-based casinos in Canada, said he is relying on consultation and advice from industry experts, lawyers and his own experience and had not entered into dialogue with Government at any level regarding the project.
"I'm establishing our jurisdiction. We have inherent rights – treaty rights and constitutional rights. In our minds, this is legal," Shepherd said, adding that its time for Saskatchewan First Nations to grab a piece of the rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar industry.
Shepherd has been in the authority’s sights before and was charged with running a common gambling house in 1993. Charges were eventually stayed or dropped and led to a gaming agreement between the tribe and the provincial Government.
Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary opined that running an online gaming company "continues to be illegal in Canada," but acknowledged that the Government "is faced with substantial challenges in determining the appropriate course of action to be taken concerning internet gambling".
According to Shepherd, a Wapi Muskwa (White Bear in Cree) Gaming Act has been drafted which will govern their online activity.