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Online Poker To Be Made Available To Tribes

Written By: PokerNet.com | July 30, 2012 | Posted In Poker News

The US Chairman for Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Daniel Akaka, has introduced a new draft legislation that will permit tribes to play online poker alone or together with non-aboriginal players. Akaka, a Democratic Senator from Hawaii, presented the Tribal Online Gaming Act of 2012 on Friday during an oversight hearing.

He presented it just as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Whip John Kyl made plans of pushing through with their move to legalize online poker nationwide. Part of the legislation that Senators Reid and Kyl are drafting, is also their move to tighten existing restrictions in all forms of online gambling.

According to a statement made by Akaka on Friday, the single and most effective form of economic means for the Indian Country has been gaming. Revenues from gaming have provided members of the tribes with essential services like education, housing and health care. It has also provided many of members with jobs as well as those surrounding the communities. Tribes have been the largest employers of non-Indians, with nearly 75 per cent of the jobs going to non-members.

“With these types of economic tools, comes great responsibility. Tribes are the first-line regulators for tribal gaming. We in Congress and especially on this Committee also have a responsibility to ensure that tribal views and priorities are part of any legislation that could impact tribal gambling,” adds Akaka to his statement.

Akaka had sighted this responsibility to be the main reason why he drafted the Tribal Online Gaming Act of 2012. It was also intended to initiate a dialogue with tribes and Akaka’s colleagues in the senate and those who will be affected.

This bill, if passed, will need online gambling firms to be issued with online gaming licenses by the Commerce Department while their profits will be exempt from taxation. Land-based facilities will also be free from state compacts with groups that are allowed to accept wagers from different part in the US.

In this expansion of gaming, Akaka said in his statement, unique circumstances that surround tribal sovereignty are maintained in any legislation. Tribes must also be able to participate fully should any law be passed so they can be on equal footing with counterparts in the commercial industry.”

Akaka added that it is their job to make sure that tribes achieve parity in any legislation and bring the tribes’ voice to the Congress. He urges everyone to review the Tribal Online Gaming Act and provide comments to make sure that the voice of the tribes is heard.


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