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NIGC gets tough on tardy casino audits

WASHINGTON - The National Indian Gaming Commission has threatened fines and
enforcement actions against tribes that are late turning in annual
financial audits and internal standards reports.

Philip Hogen, NIGC chairman, emphasized that most tribes are on time with
the documents. The commission requires gaming tribes to hire independent
certified public accountants to audit gaming operations and submit them
within 120 days of the tribes' fiscal year end. The audit must also report
on tribal internal control standards, a crucial element in accounting for
revenue streams.

The commission currently lists a cluster of tribal operations as late with
their financial audits. Many of these late-filers as of June 30 are the
multiple gaming establishments operated by single tribes.

In a Nov. 29 news release that coincided with a separate letter to "several
tribes," Hogen termed the annual outside audit "a bedrock requirement for a
tribe in its regulation of Indian gaming. The audit helps to ensure that a
tribe's gaming operation can account for its revenue and that the tribe
will be the primary beneficiary of the gaming operation."

Any fines levied by the commission would be civil fines, rather than
criminal. The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency within the Interior
Department, as provided by the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.