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Dennis Whittlesey: Tribal casino industry turns to the Internet


Filed Under: Opinion
More on: california, dennis whittlesey, igra, internet
   
Attorney Dennis Whittlesey discusses the latest developments in Internet gaming in Indian Country:
It is not surprising that the Indian gaming industry wants to pursue iGaming given its successful development of land-based casinos. To this point, the growth of tribal gaming has far surpassed anything envisioned when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act became law in 1988. At this time, recognized tribes operate 450 casinos in 28 states, and they generate in excess of $28 billion annually. The scope of Indian gaming compares favorably to commercial gaming, which generates some $34 billion. Forty-four states have state lotteries, and they generate revenues of more than $17 billion. Rightly or wrongly, tribes feel that they already have the casino management experience and available funds to pursue and operate iGaming.

In short, many tribes are actively exploring online options, although it appears that the most sophisticated effort is being made by the politically powerful California tribal gaming industry. Although there have been setbacks in this effort due to the early departure of several powerful members of the state legislature, the matter is being actively debated in Sacramento, and pressure is building to enact legislation before the 2014 session is over. Effectively, this means by the end of August.

At least two California tribes – Santa Ysabel and Alturas – are indicating that they are prepared to begin online gaming immediately rather than await legislation. Both are proposing gaming websites that would take wagers from off-reservation players, claiming that they already have the legal authority to do so. Alturas has entered into a partnership with Great Luck, LLC and seems poised to commence operations and contest any legal challenges that arise. The only obstacle remaining to the Alturas project is lack of a firm to process wagers. Another element that tribes are discussing would sidestep the question of whether off-reservation players could play by using on-reservation "proxy" players.

Get the Story:
Dennis J. Whittlesey: Internet Gaming: Has The Train Left The Station? (Mondaq.com 5/27)
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