Senate Looks to Review Tribal Gaming Laws - Tuesday 28th of February 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – As reported by the Michigan Morning Sun: "The leaders of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe are watching the U.S. Senate carefully, wondering if the federal law that governs Tribal gaming operations might be revised.

"'We are attending those meetings where that issue is being brought up,' Tribal Chief Fred Cantu said during a recent interview. Native groups have been following intensely a series of hearings on a bill, introduced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to revise portions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

"McCain is the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. In the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, he's raised questions about the relative lack of regulation of Tribal gaming.

"…'When IGRA was enacted in 1988, Indian gaming was a $200 million dollar industry. Today, the industry earns $19 billion a year and is spread throughout the nation,' McCain said. 'The amendments reflect the need to re-evaluate what constitutes appropriate regulation of this vastly changed enterprise.'

"IGRA set up the National Indian Gaming Commission, which was supposed to set the rules for Class III games in tribal casinos. Class III games, under Indian gaming law, include slot machines and table games.

"…McCain's amendments reaffirm that the National Indian Gaming Commission has the right to regulate those games, and expands its authority to regulate the relationships between tribes and outside casino management companies and consultants.

"…The McCain bill also would tighten the requirements for so-called 'off-reservation' casinos. The law generally banned casinos that weren't located on reservations, but did offer some exceptions…"

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