DoJ Recent Opinion is "No Big Deal" for Tribes

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Last year, Internet gaming reportedly generated more than $25 billion worldwide with $7 billion in wagers from U.S. bets on Internet sports, poker, and casino games with 10 million U.S. citizens playing poker online.

Melissa Riahei, general counsel of the online gaming firm U.S. Digital Gaming, told The Hill that the Justice Department “has finally confirmed what citizens in Illinois to be true all along have known—that intrastate gambling is an issue that is within the sole discretion of a state to regulate, as it deems appropriate.” She said states can now “comfortably” begin to implement Internet gaming programs to generate revenue to fund “essential government services.”

Now with that said, documented and out there for the masses to take in and digest, it seems as though there are so many negatives in the news after the DoJ’s announcement during the holidays.

A recent article from the state of California warned that, “Legislators need to determine whether approving online gambling would violate existing tribal compacts, as some tribes contend. Abrogating those compacts would cost the state revenue it now gets from tribal casinos — about $263 million to the state’s general fund this fiscal year.

But in another article Tribes are literally shrugging at the news by the DoJ. According to Indian gaming expert Joe Valandra, “before moving ahead, states have to pass legislation to allow Internet gaming and that may present some barriers, Valandra said. “I don’t think (the Justice Department opinion) is a big deal for the tribes because there’s only one state that has enabling legislation and that’s Nevada.

Another Indian gaming expert who spoke on condition of anonymity had this to say,”So the Justice Department opinion means nothing to the nations,” he said.”Congress already passed the law saying that states can have intra-state gaming – the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act.” The law, known by its unwieldy acronym UIGEA, was passed in 2006 as part of the SAFE Port Act and essentially prohibits using wire transfers or credit cards for online gaming. But a paragraph of UIGEA confirms that neither states nor tribes are constricted by the act. “No provision of this subchapter shall be construed as altering, limiting, or extending any Federal or State law or Tribal-State compact prohibiting, permitting, or regulating gambling within the United States.

Internet gambling is likely inevitable at some point and although the change made by DoJ of late is a step in that direction, it seems that so many are rushing to the side of negatives instead of waiting to see the positive changes this can have on U.S. states needing an economical boost.

We say stop putting the cart in front of the horse and just sit back and enjoy the ride!

Reported by Maggie B.

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