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Chairman Simermeyer announces bulletin and advisory group at the New Mexico Tribal Gaming Symposium

January 29, 2020

THE PUEBLO OF SANTA ANA, N.M., Jan. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer addressed Tribal Regulators in New Mexico, announced new NIGC Bulletin on Sports Books, and forecasts plans for a public facing advisory group on Agency bulletins.

The National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer met with the New Mexico Association of Indian Gaming Commissions today. This was one of his first public meetings since being commissioned to serve as the National Indian Gaming Commission's Chairman.

The meeting took place at the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel, an Indian gaming operation north of Albuquerque, NM. The Santa Ana Star Casino was one of the first tribally regulated sports books to open following a May 2018 decision from the Supreme Court of the United States. That decision struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal statute that prohibited legalizing sports betting in most jurisdictions. Since 2018, Indian gaming sports book operations in Mississippi, New Mexico, and New York have joined an Indian gaming sports book in Nevada that was already in operation before the Supreme Court's 2018 decision. All these operations are regulated under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

"Clear Agency guidance empowers tribal communities to regulate and develop Indian gaming in their own communities," said Chairman Simermeyer. He went on to say, "Today's Bulletin provides a new resource for tribes contemplating policy considerations related to the sound regulation of sports betting on Indian lands. It also underscores the NIGC's role in the oversight of sports books on Indian lands as part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's framework."  

The Bulletin responds to requests from tribal officials and the Indian gaming industry in recent years. Those requests sought clarification from the NIGC on the topic of sports books on Indian lands. The Bulletin is available on the NIGC website at www.nigc.gov.

The Bulletin discusses the use of fact-specific advisory opinions from the Agency. Those opinions serve as proactive assessments of agreements during the planning phase of a tribally-regulated sports book operation. Specifically, the Bulletin describes how such agreements might implicate management and violate the sole proprietary interest requirement under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Bulletin also highlights Freedom of Information Act provisions for redacting commercial and/or proprietary information from publicly available advisory opinions. 

Chairman Simermeyer also shared his plan to emphasize outreach and Agency accountability in the NIGC's daily operations. The NIGC website is host to numerous bulletins on a variety of topics. Chairman Simermeyer discussed the Commission's support for a more formal process that would invite tribal representatives to participate in a public facing group to advise the Commission on NIGC bulletins, including potential topics for future bulletins.

Simermeyer told the New Mexico Association of Indian Gaming Commissions, "It is the NIGC Commissioners' responsibility to maintain this body of guidance in an informed and transparent manner. An advisory group can only aid the Commission in ensuring that its guidance remains relevant and continues to address the needs of a growing and sophisticated industry." He went on to say, "Vice Chair Isom-Clause and I are working on a process to stand up an advisory group and hope to offer more details in the coming weeks."

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created the National Indian Gaming Commission to support tribal self-sufficiency and the integrity of Indian gaming. NIGC oversees the efficient regulation of 520 gaming establishments operated by 247 tribes across 29 states.

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