SCIA Releases Draft Internet Gaming Bill at NIGA Legislative Summit

Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) released a discussion draft bill on Internet gaming titled the “Tribal Online Gaming Act of 2012.” The draft was publicly announced to Tribal Leaders gathered at the National Indian Gaming Association’s Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.

A summary provided by the SCIA acknowledges the important economic contributions that Indian gaming provides to this country. It states that Indian Gaming “has created 628,000 jobs for Indians and local communities, and comprises 40 percent of all gaming in the United States,” and finds “that any federalization of online gaming must provide positive economic benefits for Indian Tribes.”

NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. stated, “We recognize the SCIA has worked diligently to provide a discussion draft bill on internet gaming. Our organization welcomes this opportunity to analyze the discussion draft and we will immediately consult with Tribal leadership.” Chairman Stevens noted that “any internet gaming legislation must respect Tribal Sovereignty and meet NIGA’s internet principles that were unanimously adopted by our 184 member tribes.”

The discussion draft will be the topic of NIGA’s upcoming meetings: August 21 at Shakopee Mdewankaton Sioux Tribe’s Mystic Lake Casino and September 18-19 at NIGA’s Mid-Year Conference hosted by the Seminole Tribe in Hollywood, Florida.

The SCIA hearing takes place Thursday at 2:15 p.m. EST, and will be webcast live on the SCIA website.