Mohegan chairwoman to testify at hearing on Internet gaming bill

The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing this afternoon on H.R 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act.

Federal law currently bars Internet wagering except if it is conducted under state law or through a tribal-state gaming compact. The bill would amend the law by regulating the Internet gaming industry.

The witness list includes Lynn Malerba, the chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. while she notes a lack of consensus in Indian Country on the issue, her written testimony says tribes believe they should be able to "participate on a level playing field with other gaming interests."

"The most important improvement from our perspective is a provision that makes it clear that tribal governments and tribal gaming facilities should be clearly authorized to operate Internet gaming sites," says Malerba, who is representing a group of tribes that have been discussing H.R.2267.

Tom Malkasian of Commerce Casino in California is also on the witness list. The non-Indian card club has been working with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians on an intra-state poker consortium.

In his written testimony, Malkasian says H.R.2267 violates tribal sovereignty by imposing a tax on tribes that engage in Internet gaming. He also says the bill would violate gaming compacts that guarantee tribes the exclusive right to offer Class III games.

The hearing takes place at 2pm and will be broadcast on the committee site.

Committee Notice:
H.R. 2267, Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (July 21, 2010)