National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. expects some movement on internet gaming in Congress, and expects tribes to have a place at the table.
Stevens, interviewed by Indian Country Today, declared, “Another year has gone by, umpteen more congressional hearings have taken place, and there’s still no enacted internet gaming legislation. But things are changing.”
But how Congress will resolve the intention of Democrats to make wireless internet available to almost all Americans and the opposition of Republicans to internet gaming remains to be seen, he said.
“NIGA’s position on internet gaming has not changed,” Stevens insisted. “We continue to fight to protect tribal sovereignty and preserve the existing rights of tribal governments under IGRA and those contained in tribal-state compacts. We are aware that leaders of both parties in the Senate have come to an agreement on draft legislation to legalize internet poker, while partially reversing the DOJ opinion through an amendment in other legislation.”
His organization is working with Congress to make sure that tribal rights are protected and that any money tribes make as a result of internet gaming will not be taxed.