Friday July 27,2012 : U.S. TRIBAL OPERATORS PREFER FEDERAL LEGALISATION
Senate Indian Affairs Committee hears evidence on internet gambling
Thursday's Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on gambling issues impacting tribal operators was told by witnesses that federal legalization was the preferred route to ensure that a state-by-state ‘patchwork' of regulations did not evolve, and that tribes get a piece of the action without having their revenue taxed and their sovereignty compromised.
Mohegan tribe chairman, Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, told the committee: “Tribes should be extremely hesitant to entrust their economic futures to the tender mercies of the 50 states, many of whom are still in financial crises and looking for new sources of revenue.” He said that his tribe had devoted considerable time and resources to preparing a proposal on internet gambling regulations.
“These regulations now stand ready to be implemented, and will meet or exceed the toughest regulations found anywhere in the world, including the new standards recently established in Nevada,” Bozsum claimed.
US tribal gambling was a more than $27 billion industry in 2011, while commercial gambling was $35.6 billion and worldwide gambling revenues were $30 billion, the committee reported.
Glen Gobin, secretary of the Tulalip Tribal Council, reminded the committee that he previously testified against legalising Internet gambling. But on Thursday, Gobin said that with states ready to start their own Internet gambling, “tribes must have equal footing to participate,” and plans to move forward as gambling evolves because the revenue pays for many of the tribe’s government services.
Jon Porter, a former Congressman and a lobbyist for the Poker Players Alliance, urged tribes to prepare for online gambling “because it has to happen.”
Earlier this week the the committee's chairman, Daniel Akaka, told the National Indian Gaming Association’s Legislative Summit: “We in Congress – and especially on this committee – also have a responsibility to ensure that tribal views and priorities are part of any legalization that could impact tribal gaming."