The Commission Recommendations cocerning Tribal Gambling

Proposals for off-reservation tribal casinos do not always reach the formal application stage. For example, off-reservation tribal casinos also have been proposed in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Fall River, Massachusetts; Kenosha, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Kansas; Portland, Oregon; southern New Jersey; and New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Land acquisitions by Indian tribes for non-gambling purposes have been largely focused on reclaiming former reservation land that was alienated in the past. According to Richard G. Hill, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA): “There is really no need for anyone to fear land-into-trust acquisitions. It’s not like Indian nations will ever be able to buy back the entire country.” 110

Class II “Megabingos”
Tribes currently operate Class II “megabingos” that use the telephone lines to operate gambling similar to the current pari-mutuel uses. These are not Internet gambling, as the linkages are reservation to reservation and do not involve individual home terminal access. More than 60 tribal governments currently use these forms of technology in the play of interstate-linked Class II bingo games, which are satellite broadcast across the country. These forms of technology are used to broaden the participation levels of these games and attract more people to visit Indian communities.

6.1 The Commission acknowledges the central role of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) as the lead federal regulator of tribal governmental gambling. The Commission encourages the Congress to assure adequate NIGC funding for proper regulatory oversight to ensure integrity and fiscal accountability. The Commission supports the NIGC’s new Minimum Internal Control Standards, developed with the help of the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners and Regulators, as an important step to ensure such fiscal accountability. The Commission recommends that all Tribal Gaming Commission work ensures that the tribal gambling operations they regulate meet or exceed these Minimum Standards, and that the NIGC focus special attention on tribal gambling operations struggling to comply with these and other regulatory requirements.

6.2 The Commission recommends that IGRA’s classes of gambling be clearly defined so that there is no confusion as to what forms of gambling constitute Class II and Class III gambling activities. Further, the Commission recommends that Class III gambling activities should not include any activities that are not available to other persons, entities or organizations in a state, regardless of technological similarities. Indian gambling should not be inconsistent with the state’s overall gambling policy.

6.3 The Commission recommends that labor organizations, tribal governments, and states should voluntarily work together to ensure the enforceable right of free association— including the right to organize and bargain collectively— for employees of tribal casinos. Further, the Commission recommends that Congress should enact legislation establishing such worker rights only if there is not substantial voluntary progress toward this goal over a reasonable period of time.

109 U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, “Gaming Acquisitions Approved Since Enactment of IGRA, October 17, 1988”; “Unapproved Gaming Acquisitions Since Enactment of IGRA, October 17, 1988”; and “Actions by the Washington, D. C. Office of the Department of the Interior on Applications to Take Off-Reservation Land In Trust for Gaming (Not Including the Application Involving the Hudson Do Track)” January 8, 1998. 110 Daniel Meisler, “State and Local Finance: Senate Proposal on Indian Gambling Is Under Attack By Governors’ Group,” The Bond Buyer (May 13, 1998), p. 5.