Native American Side of Online Gambling

12/18/2011
By Tommie ClarkGoogle

As congress continues to way the pros and cons of online gambling, representatives of the Native American tribes were brought in to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in order to voice their opinion on the issues.  Due to the scope of the involvement of the Native American community in gambling affairs, the issue of online gambling affects them greatly. 

 

Among the various representatives who came to the hearing, there were those who voiced opinions in favor of regulated online gambling and those who were against.  Bruce Bozsum, the Tribe Council Chairman of the Mohegan, spoke in favor of the regulation of online gambling.  He said that given the opportunity, the Native American casinos will be able to compete and thrive in the online market.  He did stress, though, that as opposed to the current laws that limit Native American gambling licenses to Native American territory, the government must allow players from the outside the territories to register and use their online casinos.  Additionally, he called for the government to take affirmative action to close down any and all unregulated online casinos.

 

A voice opposing online gambling was that of Tulalip Tribe Vice Chairman Glen Gobin.  He feared that the opening of the online market would significantly hurt the profits of the land-based casinos.  Furthermore, given the current success of the land-based casinos that generate over $20 billion annually, he sees no reason to risk their profit margins on behalf of internet gambling that only generates about $4 billion annually.  Unlike Bozsum, Gobin does not think the Indian casinos would succeed in competing with the more famous brand name casinos recognized nationwide. 

 

The National Indian Gaming Association’s Chairman Ernie Stevens expressed an optimistic sentiment more in line with Bruce Bozsum.  He posited that as long as the government upholds the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act on behalf of online casinos as well, there is no reason to believe that the Native American online casinos will not succeed in competing in the online market. 

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