Today, Gabe Galanda spoke on the CEM Audio Edge's Gaming Law News live show, regarding gaming issues from a tribal perspective and what the 113th Congress might or might not do to address and resolve these issues. The show gathers attorneys, policymakers and commentators to discuss crucial legislation affecting state and federal jurisdictions around the world. A few excerpts:
As a tribal advocate, I do not believe that tribal i-gaming should be regulated by states. First and foremost, to the extent tribal i-gaming is confined to Indian Country, as a matter of tribal sovereignty, states should have no role in its regulation. That said, I do generally agree that for sake of integrity of game play, dual regulation makes sense; meaning tribal and federal regulation, as we have with Class II Indian gaming.
States should also not play a regulatory role in i-gaming because unlike the situation in 1988, where generally speaking tribes did not have the regulatory experience that states like Nevada and New Jersey had then and as such, tribes needed help in gaming regulation, today tribes are very sophisticated in gaming regulation. In fact, tribal regulators have proven themselves more sophisticated than state regulators in many instances.
Moreover, states will use any Congressionally delegated regulatory role to extort taxes or revenue-sharing from i-gaming tribes, which is patently acceptable.
Based on Congress’s pace to date, it’s a safe bet that we’re heading toward state-by-state regulation of Internet gaming – tribes will have to fit into the cracks that such regulations create. . . . It will be a tribe by tribe process, in which tribes attempt to comply with both the requirements of IGRA and their compacts.
A vote on the [Akaka Carcieri fix] bill did not happen in 2012. U.S. Senators from Rhode Island and Northern California have done everything in their power to stymie a Carcieri fix, and successfully so as of yet. As long as they continue to do so, a Carcieri fix may not even get a vote in 2013.
The result of this [Patchak] decision is that a party claiming harm to property nearby proposed trust land has standing under the APA to bring a lawsuit. This creates considerable risk for casino developers because the statute of limitations under the APA is considerably longer than that of the QTA – creating much more time that a party has to challenge the DOI's trust transaction.
Two days after the fiscal cliff debacle, I would note that the Congress delivered some unexpected good news to Indian Country, in the form of tax relief. Although not gaming specific – of course Indian gaming is per se tax exempt – Congress passed a number of tax fixes that are advantageous to tribal governments engaged in economic development or diversification efforts.
Looking further into 2013, it is impossible to predict how the anemically bipartisan Congress will behave relative to i-gaming in general, or any matter of Indian gaming, be it TOGA or a Carcieri-fix. Generally speaking, I do not predict good things to come Indian Country via the 113th Congress. Any legalized inter-state i-gaming will somehow erode tribal sovereignty. . . . As such, the status quo, at least on i-gaming, might not be such a bad thing.
Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian owned law firm. He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California. Gabe assists tribal governments and businesses in all matters of tribal economic development and diversification, including entity formation and related tax strategy. He also helps tribes and tribal businesses and joint ventures withstand attack from federal, state and local government. Gabe can be reached at 206.691.3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.