House subcommittee talks off-reservation gaming standards

The House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs held a hearing last Thursday to discuss standards for off-reservation gaming acquisitions.

Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars gaming on land acquired after 1988. But there are exceptions to the rule that have been the subject of considerable controversy.

Amending IGRA, however, is a tough order. So Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the chairman of the subcommittee, called on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to modify the Section 20 regulations to recognize the impact of new developments on local communities and tribes with existing casinos.

The regulations currently call for the BIA to consult local communities and tribes within a 25-mile radius of a new development. Young and other members of the subcommittee suggested that the distance be increased or that other methods, such as driving time, be considered.

Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn, the head of the BIA, indicated he was open to discussions. However, he said any proposed changes would likely be subject to a public notice and comment process.

Young responded that he might write a bill to address the distance issue because the public notice process tends to take months, if not years, of work.

Audio from the hearing can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud:

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