Indian Casinos Weigh in on Online Poker

12/30/2011
By Tommie ClarkGoogle

With all the talk lately about whether or not online poker will be legalized and regulated, last week’s hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee saw a heated debate between tribal leaders about the potential affects of online gambling for the Indian casino industry.

 

The tribal leaders in favor of the legalization and regulation of online poker were headed by Mohegan Tribe chairman Bruce Bozsum.  He stated that casinos have been a very successful venture for the Indian peoples.  They have succeeded in modernizing casinos keeping up to date with technological and cultural changes.  That said, the prospect of online poker should be looked at as a golden opportunity and not as a threat.  However, he did have some specifications regarding the creation of a framework in which Indian casinos could thrive in the online market.  One such request was that the online Indian casinos be allowed to proved gaming services for U.S. citizens beyond the borders of their territory, and possibly even overseas.  Furthermore, he states that there is no reason that Indian online casinos should not benefit from the same tax status that the Indian land-based casinos currently benefit from.

 

Glen Gobin was spearheading the argument against online casinos.  The Tulalip tribe vice chairman said that online casinos will cut into the existing casinos profits; he sees no reason in risking the current success of the Indian casinos.  Al D’Amato, the former U.S. senator currently chairing the Poker Players Alliance, brought statistics that cast doubt on Gobin’s claims.  D’Amato showed that only 1% of the Indian Casinos’ total profits are actually from poker, and therefore the concept that the online poker industry would have any significant impact on the Indian casino industry was unfounded.

 

One principle that all the representatives of the Indian community did agree on was that when congress does decide on the issue of online gambling, they want to be present and they want their voice to be heard.

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