Indian Gaming For The Benefit Of Community
In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) which established the jurisdictional framework that presently governs Indian gaming. IGRA divided gaming into three classes, each with its own regulatory scheme, and created a five-member National Indian Gaming Commission authorized to select tribal games, enforce collection of civil fines, inspect gaming premises, conduct background investigations of management contractors, audit tribal gaming enterprises and consult with law enforcement officials to conduct necessary criminal investigations.
• Class I gaming is defined as social gaming for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming as part of tribal ceremonies or celebrations. Regulatory authority over Class I gaming is vested exclusively in tribal governments.
• Class II gaming is defined as bingo and related games, including lotto, pull-tabs, punch boards, tip jars and instant bingo. Class II gaming also includes non-banked card games, that is, games that are played exclusively against other players rather than against the house or a player acting as a bank. Tribal governments are responsible for regulating Class II gaming with oversight provided by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
• Class III gaming includes games commonly played at casinos, such as slot machines, black jack, craps, and roulette. Tribes may engage in Class II and Class III games to the extent the particular games are not absolutely prohibited in the state where the reservation is located. Class III gaming is regulated in accordance with the provisions of a tribal-state compact subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. Federal law requires that each state must negotiate with the tribal governments in good faith to execute a gaming compact that specifies the conditions, regulations and limitations for Class III gaming operations. The games that are subject to negotiations depend on the state’s existing gaming related public policy. If a state refuses to negotiate in good faith, tribes can directly request the Secretary of the Interior to prescribe regulations for the conduct of Class III gaming, eliminating the state’s opportunity to participate in the regulatory process. Indian gaming is a right of Indian Nations, derived from their inherent sovereignty as recognized by the Supreme Court and Congress. It is the only economic development tool that has ever worked on reservations, bringing increased economic benefit to Indians and non-Indians. Several tribes and states have demonstrated by example that given the opportunity, IGRA can work well for the benefit of all.
For addition information, visit the National Indian Gaming Commission web site at http://www.nigc.gov/nigc/laws/igra/igra_index.jsp