For Immediate Release ~ November 7, 2005
Contact: Shawn Pensoneau ~ (202) 632-7003
Washington, DC — The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) recently adopted the final annual fee rate for assessment of Indian gaming revenues to fund NIGC operations for 2005. The Federal commission is funded solely with fees it collects from the gaming tribes it regulates. Those fees are based on the tribes’ gross gaming revenues—the amounts bet by gamblers at tribal bingo halls and casinos, less the amounts the tribes pay in prizes. While the Commission had projected last year that it would need to collect fees at the rate of 0.059% (or 59¢ of every $1,000 of gross gaming revenues) on the over $16 Billion of tribal gross gaming revenues in 2004, to generate the $10 Million-plus the Commission needed to operate, the revenues actually exceeded projections, and the Commission’s spending was less than anticipated, and the Commission’s recent action finalized the rate at 0.053%. This is a reduction from the 0.063% which was the final rate for the preceding year.
The Commission fee schedule is divided into two tiers—tier 1 covers the first $1.5 million generated at each tribal gaming facility; it is not subject to fees—its rate is 0.00%. Amounts exceeding $1.5 million are in tier 2, and that rate was finalized at 0.053%. The fee rates were published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2005, and shall apply to all assessable gross revenues from each Tribal gaming operation under the jurisdiction of the Commission.
At the beginning of each calendar year, the Commission forecasts what the necessary fee rate will be in order to accomplish the NIGC regulatory responsibilities. This rate is then published in the Federal Register as a preliminary fee rate. As the end of a calendar year approaches, a final fee rate is adopted and published in the Federal Register.
NIGC Chairman Phil Hogen commented on the reduction of the fees assessed on the tribal gaming revenues. Hogen stated "Indian gaming continues to be a positive economic tool for many communities throughout Indian country and the fee rates continue to decrease due to the expansion of gaming industry. This fee rate will ensure the Commission proper resources needed to continue its job throughout the many states where Indian gaming has a presence." Hogen also noted that the Commission is seeking legislation to change the limit the on the Commission’s fee funding from a fixed dollar amount to a percentage of tribal gaming revenues.
If a tribe has a certificate of self-regulation under 25 CFR part 518, the final fee rate on class II revenues for calendar year 2005 shall be one-half of the annual fee rate, which is 0.0265%. Two tribes currently hold such certifications.
The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.