For Immediate Release ~ January 29, 2004
Washington, DC —
National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman Phil Hogen addressed members of both the House and Senate of the Oklahoma State Legislature today, and spoke about the role of the NIGC in the regulation of tribal gaming, and described how the NIGC works with Tribal Gaming Commissions created by gaming tribes, who are the primary regulators.
"Oklahoma has the largest number of Indian gaming operations in the country, and the tribal gaming activity in Oklahoma has been the focus of a major portion of NIGC's enforcement activity in recent years," said Hogen. He added that, "Much of this activity has centered around the difficult area of determining what sort of gaming was permissible without tribal-state compacts, and Class III gaming which is only permitted under compacted arrangements."
In 2003, Oklahoma Representative Wayne Pettigrew called for a comprehensive study on the classification and study of types of gaming, various games and game machine chronology, and court and regulatory decisions relating to types of gaming and the respective class (House Interim Study 03-11). Subsequently, Pettigrew invited Hogen to address many of these topics for Oklahoma legislators.
Hogen has worked in Indian law and Indian gaming throughout his career. He is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He was nominated by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to serve a three-year term as the Chairman of the NIGC. Hogen was sworn into office in December of 2002. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Associate Solicitor for the Division of Indian Affairs, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior in 2001. In addition to serving as the NIGC Chairman, Hogen has also served as the Associate Member and the Vice chairman of the NIGC between 1995 through 1999.
The National Indian Gaming Commission is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior to provide federal oversight for the Indian gaming industry. The Commission was established pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.