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Monday, October 02, 2006

 

Indian Gaming

Recently proposals have been made by Senators to update the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act put in place by Congress. The Indian gaming industry has experienced excellent growth since the law was enacted. In 2005 the industry raked in almost $23 billion dollars. This growth has led other tribes to attempt to try and find land that is rightfully supposed to be theirs and establish their own gaming enterprises. The proposed amendment is supposed to halt off-reservation casinos as well as tighten the reigns that government has over the industry. If the amendment were to be approved the National Indian Gaming Commission would have the ability to then regulate the industry. Some tribes are concerned that the stiffer regulations on their accounting and other internal control standards would significantly increase their operating costs. If this were to happen they would be potentially forced to let go of some of their workers. Arrangements have been made by Rep. Pombo in order to specifically allow the Ewiiapaayp-Viejas Project. It is said that most of the Indian Country already approves of the current regulations in use.

Something about this proposed amendment seems fishy. If most of the Indian Country approves of the current regulations one wonders why it is that they would want to have more regulations enforced. It seems possible to this author that there could be at least two possible groups that may want this change to occur. The first could be gaming enterprise owners that operate off of reservations that are subject to the taxes and government intervention that the tribal gaming enterprises are not. The second could be tribes with representation that possibly want to just make it more difficult for other tribes to enter the industry, possibly taking a portion of their market share. One would guess that there are probably some funds that were transferred to Rep. Pombo to keep the Ewiiapaayp-Viejas from being voided by this amendment change. It will be interesting to see if this proposed changes between now and the time something actually happens in Congress. One can rest assured there will be ever more lobbying done in the near future by the tribal gaming groups.


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