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Class II Advisory Committee Formed

NIGC names experts to new panel

WASHINGTON - The National Indian Gaming Commission recently took a strong
step toward its commitment to further clarify the boundaries between Class
II and Class III Indian gaming. On March 8, NIGC announced the appointment
of seven gaming experts from across Indian country to the new Class II Game
Classification Standards Advisory Committee.

Citing the March 1 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny certiorari in
a pair important gaming-related cases, NIGC Chairman Philip Hogen noted
that the federal regulator's "efforts to provide guidance in distinguishing
between Class II and Class III games will be even more important. We have
selected seven highly knowledgeable people whose combined expertise will be
invaluable in developing clear standards that will benefit the entire
Indian gaming industry."

In the cases to which Hogen referred, U.S. v. Santee Sioux Tribe of
Nebraska and Ashcroft v. Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, two circuit court
of appeals justices ruled that the use of electronic aids, such as video
lottery terminals that dispense pull-tab games, is legal and classified
under Class II. By refusing to hear these cases, the court let stand
rulings upon which NIGC has based initial regulatory decisions
distinguishing Class II machines, which may be operated absent a
tribal-state compact, from Class III machines, which may not.

Previously, NIGC reviewed individual machines and issued opinions on a
case-by-case basis, but new machines are produced faster than they could be
classified under this process. The advisory committee is charged with
assisting NIGC in devising definitive technical standards and regulations
for classifying specific electronic gaming machines as Class II or Class
III, as defined by IGRA.

By applying a set of clear and consistent standards to all existing and new
gaming machines, NIGC seeks to eliminate the controversy and litigation
caused by the fuzzy boundary between the classes.