Casino Stalker
Obama still working on off-reservation policy

The Obama administration is still working on its off-reservation gaming policy, assistant secretary Larry EchoHawk, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said on Monday.

EchoHawk said the Interior Department was reviewing Bush-era restrictions that make it nearly impossible for tribes to acquire land away from existing reservations. He said the prior administration effectively "slammed the brakes on future off-reservation gaming."

"Along the way, they just stopped the fee-to-trust process," EchoHawk said at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention in Palm Springs, California. "We will not do that."

But EchoHawk wasn't ready to make any announcements regarding changes in policy. He said he will "listen very carefully" to arguments on all sides of the issue and is open to tribes that want to discuss off-reservation gaming.