For Immediate Release ~ June 30, 2004
Contact: Affie Ellis ~ (202) 632-7003
NIGC Announces Formation of the
Indian Gaming Working Group
Washington, DC, June 30, 2004 – The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the establishment of the Indian Gaming Working Group (IGWG) to enhance cooperation between federal agencies, coordinate roles and functions, pool resources and develop effective strategies to investigate and prosecute Indian gaming-related crime.
"The growth of Indian gaming has brought increased potential for criminal activity related to gaming," said NIGC Vice Commissioner Nelson Westrin. "As such, keeping corrupting influences out of Indian gaming has become increasingly important."
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 established the statutory framework for gaming on American Indian reservations. At that time, Indian gaming was a $100 million dollar year industry conducted by approximately 100 tribes. By contrast, in 2002, Indian gaming operations grossed $14.5 billion dollars, and were conducted by more than 200 tribes, at over 300 sites in 28 states.
As the day-to-day regulators of Indian gaming, tribes themselves provide the primary due diligence to keep gaming facilities honest and fair to both players and operators. However, some instances call for the involvement of federal agencies to assist tribes in their efforts to keep Indian gaming facilities crime-free. The formation of the IGWG will allow federal agencies that have jurisdiction over specific criminal acts directly related to Indian gaming to more effectively address instances where federal involvement is necessary in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity.
The Indian Gaming Working Group is comprised of the following federal agencies:
The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.