U.S. Indians Want Federal Legislation

This story was published more than 11 years ago.

The United States Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on gambling issues wherein tribal leaders stated that they preferred federal legislation for online gambling, as opposed to a state-by-state method of legalization.

Testifying to the Senate committee, Mohegan Tribe Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum said: “Tribes should be extremely hesitant to entrust their economic futures to the tender mercies of the 50 states, many of whom are still in financial crises and looking for new sources of revenue.” He said that his tribe had devoted considerable time and resources to preparing a proposal on internet gambling regulations.'

“These regulations now stand ready to be implemented, and will meet or exceed the toughest regulations found anywhere in the world, including the new standards recently established in Nevada."

Tulalip Tribal Council Secretary Glen Gobin told the committee that he had previously testified that he was opposed to the legalization of online gambling, but noted that it is clear that states are moving forward with the act and that tribes need to have equal footing to participate in the industry.

Former U.S. Congressman and current lobbyist for the Poker Players Alliance encouraged tribes to embrace online gambling “because it has to happen.”

Gambling on Indian territories within the United States accounted for more than $27 billion last year, while commercial gambling in the country was worth 35.6 billion.

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka told the National Indian Gaming Association's Legislative Summit earlier this week that: “We in Congress - and especially on this committee - also have a responsibility to ensure that tribal views and priorities are part of any legislation that could impact tribal gaming."