American Indian Tribes Expressing Concerns Over Online Casinos


04/09/2012
By Maria McCoyGoogle

On Tuesday, leaders who manage casinos for Indian tribes let regulators and companies know that they will not grant their support to any new laws involving online gaming unless it is made clear how tribes across the United States will be affected. With legislation proposed in various states, issues related to tribal sovereignty and local economies have arisen.

Speaking at the iGaming North America conference, Chairwoman Leslie Lohse of the California Tribal Business Alliance said that the cultural and economic consequences of online gaming should not be ignored. Lohse asked, "What's going to satisfy us? That we really sit down and hammer out the nuts and bolts of this. Really look at the impacts and not rush to the gold."

The comments highlighted the significant issues that separate those who are proponents of online casino games and those who oppose them. Indian tribes and others involved in the casino business, including equipment manufacturers and state lotteries, do not want to be sidelined if America passes any type of online gaming.

According to a report by industry publication Casino City, revenue at casinos owned by American Indian tribes was $26.7 billion in 2010. This was s slight increase over 2009 figures that put revenue at $26.4 billion when businesses across the United States the realities of the recession.

Tribes are still dealing with the losses they faced during the recession and are concerned about anything that might threaten the businesses they have worked hard to grow.

Sheila Morago, executive director of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, said

"When you take one federal bill and sort of overlay it over 29 state compacts, you're kind of wondering how is this going to work. We can all agree that nobody wants to open up those state compacts."

Many leading casino operators have sought and supported federal legislation that would create one national framework for online casino gaming that would allow states to decide if they want to participate or not.

 


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