Firm cites 2009 National Indian Gaming Commission opinion in bid for daily fantasy sports

The National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal agency, consists of three members. From left: Associate Commissioner E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri and Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause. Photo by NIGC A gaming firm pitching a daily fantasy sports system to Indian Country is citing a years-old legal opinion as evidence of "approval" from the federal government.

In an October 17 press release, Atlantis Gaming Corporation said its online gaming network was approved by "two federal agencies." But the National Indian Gaming Commission quickly refuted that claim.

Atlantis now acknowledges that the daily fantasy sports system was not approved by the NIGC. But in another press release, the firm says its "Casino Gateway Network" was deemed legal back in 2009.

In September of that year, the NIGC issued a legal opinion which concluded that the Casino Gateway Network is not an internet gaming system. That's because it merely connects tribal casinos to one other.

The NIGC in fact issued Bulletin 2009-3 in March 2009 to clarify that inter-tribal networks, such as those used for multi-site bingo games or progressive jackpots, are not prohibited by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Those kinds of systems predate the law.

"As stated in that legal opinion, our Network is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and acts like a Wide Area Progressive (WAP), featuring multiple vendors' casino games, with the capacity to link one Indian casino to another, in 28 States on Indian Lands," Atlantis said in its newer press release.

According to Atlantis, two tribes -- one in Nevada and another in Louisiana -- are using the Casino Gateway Network to offer "social games" at their facilities. Daily fantasy sports are coming in 2017, the company said.

Regardless of the wording used by the firm, the NIGC last week noted that its legal opinions are "advisory" in nature. They are not to be considered "agency action" -- in other words, they are not decisions made by the agency.

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