National Indian Gaming Commission announces 2017 consultation schedule

Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri serves as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal agency. Photo from Facebook Uncertainty is in the air in Indian Country but one thing won't be changing at the federal agency that oversees the $29.9 billion tribal gaming industry.

The National Indian Gaming Commission will continue to consult tribes in the coming year. The agency has scheduled a series of meetings, from February through May 2017, to discuss seven major topics.

"Tribal consultations are vital to our ongoing regulatory work. The law mandates that tribes be the primary beneficiaries of their operations," Chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri said in a press release. "It is crucial to work hand in hand with our regulatory partners on a government-to-government basis to together preserve the integrity of Indian gaming."

Chaudhuri, a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, is one of three members of the commission. He was first nominated to the post by President Barack Obama in July 2014 and confirmed by the Senate in April 2015.

According to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the chairman of the NIGC serves a three-year term. But Republican president-elect Donald Trump might want to install his own leader at the agency.

During prior times of transition, however, the members of the commission have been known to stick around while a new administration builds its team. For Obama, it took him more than a year to nominate someone for the chairman's post.

Trump has not said anything about Indian gaming on the campaign trail. During the 1990s and the early 2000s, when his casinos were in competition with tribes, he was openly hostile to tribal sovereignty and once filed a lawsuit that claimed IGRA was illegal. He'll soon be charged with carrying out the law.

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