Indian Casinos Under Scrutiny
At a time of increased scrutiny of Indian gaming in the U.S., the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has scheduled a series of meetings with Native American tribes which own or run casinos on reservations in that state. The meetings, slated for consultations between tribes, will take place at Palm Springs from the 10th to the 12th of January, 2006. Recent months have seen Indian gambling leaders testifying before Senate committees and their rights to run casinos often questioned by some in the government and the press. Casinos based on reservations often provide a much-needed source of social services income for tribal nations, so they feel an acute need to protect their interests.
Says Phil Hogen, NIGC chairman, “In continuing our government-to-government consultation policy, the NIGC will meet with California tribes during the 11th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference early next year. The conference is host to many leaders of California gaming tribes and proves to be a very effective venue to hear about issues throughout California. It is vital for us to receive input from tribes when formulating policy that will eventually affect their day-to-day activities with regards to gambling. Consultations benefit both tribes and the National Indian Gaming Commission.”
The meeting in Palm Springs comes just at the time that the U.S. Department of Justice is negotiating and meeting with the state governments and tribal governments over proposed changes to the Johnson Act, which is the piece of federal legislation that contains Indian gaming guidelines. It is these guidelines which provide Indian tribes the right to operate gambling facilities on their property, as reservations are by law something apart from regular U.S. territories. The meetings with the Justice Department will take place on January 12, 2006. The future of gambling on Indian reservations is at stake, so staying informed as events develop will help out a lot if you’re interested.