The Pueblo of Laguna owns and operates the Route 66 Casino and Hotel in New Mexico. Photo by Indianz.Com / Available for use under Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

National Indian Gaming Commission sets fees for tribal casinos

Did you know the National Indian Gaming Commission is entirely funded by the tribal casino industry?

Yes, it's true. The NIGC is one of those mythical unicorns in the federal government -- a self-funding agency!

To pay for its regulatory work in Indian Country, the NIGC imposes fees on tribes with gaming operations. The fees fall into three tiers, with tribes that pull in more revenues paying a slightly higher rate.

Typically, the rates change from year to year to adjust for the market. Sometimes they even go up. But this year, they are staying the same, leaving them at their lowest level since 2010.

“With the continued strength and stability shown in the Indian gaming industry along with sound fiscal policy, the commission is able to maintain the current fee rates tribes pay. Our ongoing commitment to efficient and effective agency operations along with our solid working relationships with our regulatory partners preserves the benefits attained by the Indian gaming community,” NIGC Chairman Jonodev O. Chaudhuri, who is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, said in a press release on Monday.

The fee for fingerprint processing isn't changing, either. The NIGC is keeping it at $18, down from $22 just a few years ago.

The NIGC's budget is $12 million. It used to be $8 million, until Congress amended the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 2006 to account for growth in the industry.

"With fees now capped at 0.080% of the industry's gross revenue, the commission’s funding will expand or contract in proportion to the growth or contraction of the Indian gaming industry," a budget justification document reads.

Federal Register Notices:
2017 Final Fee Rate and Fingerprint Fees (June 2, 2017)
2016 Final Fee Rate and Fingerprint Fees (May 27, 2016)

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