And as the case was making its way to the D.C. Circuit, a key lawmaker intervened. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a former two-time chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced legislation that would have essentially reversed the court ruling by authorizing the NIGC to issue the rules. The bill did not become law but it was the subject of heated debate on Capitol Hill and in Indian Country. At the time, tribes were facing significant resistance from the NIGC on a wide range of significant and equally controversial matters, not just the disputed regulations. But it turns out that tribes were right about their ability to serve as the primary regulators of their gaming facilities. Doomsday warnings about the court ruling never came to pass and tribes and states have continued to negotiate agreements in the way the 2006 ruling anticipated. "Technology has advanced rapidly, though, making some standards obsolete and introducing new areas of risk not contemplated by the outdated standards, the forthcoming notice states. As of Monday, the NIGC will consider the Class III MICS to be "non-binding guidance." Some tribes and states have continued to adopt, or refer to, the same standards in their compacts but that decision will be up to those governments and not the U.S. "This guidance is not intended to modify or amend any terms in a state compact," the forthcoming notice reads.
Save the Date! The National Indian Gaming Commission will mark the 30th anniversary of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Regulatory Act at an event in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 2018.
The CRIT court decision did not disturb the NIGC's ability to regulate Class II gaming like bingo, pull tabs and electronic versions of those games. In June, all three commissioners of the agency took action to propose changes to those federal regulations. Additionally, the NIGC finalized minimum technical standards for Class II gaming last December. And in April, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians became the first tribe with approved alternate technical standards for Class II gaming. "Here at the NIGC, we support each tribes' inherent sovereign authority to serve as the primary regulator of its gaming," NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri said in June as the agency announced another year of growth in the industry. Tribes took in $32.4 billion at their casinos in 2017, an increase of 3.9 percent from the year prior. Forthcoming Federal Register Notice:
Minimum Internal Control Standards [Class III] (To Be Published August 13, 2018) Prior Federal Register Notices:
Minimum Internal Control Standards [Class II] (June 8, 2018)
Minimum Technical Standards for Class II Gaming Systems and Equipment; Correction (January 19, 2018)
Minimum Technical Standards for Class II Gaming Systems and Equipment (December 27, 2017)
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