Senate Indian Affairs Committee considers Internet gambling

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday to consider tribal perspectives on Internet gaming.

Tribal and Indian leaders said they welcome the opportunity to expand their operations. But they said their sovereignty, their Class III gaming compacts and their rights under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act should be respected.

“Any federal legislation authorizing Internet gaming must ensure that Indian Country can protect and preserve the gains tribal nations have made under IGRA, while at the same time allowing us the opportunity to compete on a fair and level playing field with other gaming interests in any legalized Internet Gaming market,” Bruce Bozsum, the chairman of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, told the committee.

Tribes need to be consulted about any changes to existing law, the committee was told. And if tribes offer Internet gaming, it should not be subject to taxation by other governments, witnesses said.

Bills to legalize Internet poker have been introduced in the House. Tribes have been critical of those efforts, citing a lack of consultation and concerns about sovereignty.

In the Senate, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the majority leader, and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), the Republican whip, are the key players on Internet gaming, Vegas Inc reported. Reid has typically supported Nevada gaming interests while Kyl, who is retiring, recently dropped his opposition to Internet gaming.

Get the Story:
Senate eyes issues of Internet gambling (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 11/18)
Tribal leader: Don't give Nevada 'head start' in Web gaming (The Las Vegas Review Journal 11/18)
Tribes could put crimp in push to legalize online gaming (Vegas Inc 11/18)
Indian Tribes and Card Rooms in California Working Together for Online Poker (Poker News Report 11/18)
Hearing Airs Tribes’ Issues With Internet Gambling (AP 11/17)
Indian tribes want major role in online gaming process (Casino City Times 11/17)
Tribal Gaming Operators Unhappy with Current Internet Poker Proposal in House (Card Player 11/17)

Committee Notice:
OVERSIGHT HEARING on the Future of Internet Gaming: What's at Stake for Tribes? (November 17, 2011)

Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to consider Internet gaming (11/15)