California Tribes Critical of Graham-Chaffetz bills
Sunday May 11,2014 : TRIBAL ONLINE GAMBLING PROVIDER CRITICAL OF GRAHAM-CHAFFETZ BILLS
Valandra says politicians supporting banning bills are turning back the clock decades and obstructing the rights and economic vitality of the tribes.
The battle for the minds of Washington lawmakers on whether online gambling should be banned in the USA continued over the weekend with an op-ed in the publication The Hill by Joe Valandra, CEO of tribal i-gaming provider Great Luck LLC.
After giving a summary of the background to tribal and internet gambling, Valandra wrote that tribal governments are rightly pursuing all online opportunities as instruments for economic growth, and that banning bills such as the Graham-Chaffetz measures now before Congress "…turn the clock back decades and dramatically obstruct the rights and economic vitality of federally recognized Indian tribes."
By prohibiting online gaming nationally, these bills could severely compromise Tribal jurisdiction over Class II games like bingo and make any expansion of gaming by Tribes to include the Internet illegal, Valandra claims, pointing out that many Indian reservations continue to struggle with poverty, and this sort of legalization forces Native Americans to accept the status quo.
The Graham-Chaffetz bills seek to prohibit a popular activity, and bans like this have not worked well in the past, in some cases triggering an increase in the activity being banned, the tribal gaming executive wrote.
"Thousands of Americans play games online now, some for a wager and some for entertainment," Valandra observes. "The fast paced trading of securities with no limits already takes place 24 hours a day, enabled by Internet access. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized the Internet as a vehicle for the play of wagering games.
“The horse is out of the barn. Closing it now and punishing anyone that plays or offers gambling via the Internet is out of touch with reality."
The Great Luck chief executive concludes with the assertion that Congress should be in the business of enforcing laws, not removing the governance rights of individual states and sovereign tribes.