For Immediate Release
Contact: Shawn Pensoneau
Washington DC, May 25, 2006 — Today the National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC” or “Commission”) published two proposed rules in the Federal Register. The first notice proposes to add a new Part 546 to its regulations. The NIGC seeks to address a narrow but important issue in Indian gaming.
The new Part 546 would draw a clear line of demarcation between Class II bingo, lotto,“other games similar to bingo,” pull tabs or instant bingo played primarily through “electronic, computer or other technologic aids” and Class III “facsimiles of any game of chance.” Advancements and improvements in technology have blurred the distinction, made it difficult to classify these games when played electronically, and caused confusion for tribal operations, tribal & Federal regulators, equipment manufacturers, and states.
The second notice proposes changes to the definition of electronic or “electromechanical facsimile of any game of chance.” This change to the definition clarifies that facsimiles of bingo are not permissible Class II games under IGRA.
Chairman Phil Hogen said, “The Indian gaming industry is in need of this classification in order to know which games need to be played under compact and which do not.”
The NIGC developed the classification standards in 2004 – 2005 with the aid of a tribal advisory committee and has received and considered voluminous comments in response to drafts of the standards publicly circulated.
The proposed rules are available on the NIGC website (www.nigc.gov) and on the Federal Register website (http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html).
Chairman Hogen went on to say “it is in the best interest of Indian gaming for the NIGC to promulgate classification standards clarifying the distinction between electronic, computer and other technologic aids used in the play of Class II games and other technologic devices used in the play of the game.”
The NIGC will hold several tribal consultations over the summer, in order to discuss the proposed classification standards and receive further input and observations. In order to accommodate a scheduled Nation Indian Gaming Association legislative summit meeting in Washington DC during mid-July, the consultation schedule published in the Federal
Register today is being revised. The NIGC will publish an official update in the Federal Register with the revised schedule as soon as it is available. The Commission will also send invitations to all gaming Tribes with the revised schedule. The NIGC expects that all consultations will be concluded by mid-August. The cities where the consultations will take place are listed below.
- Washington, DC
- Denver, Colorado
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Tacoma, Washington
- Ontario, California
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
During this tribal consultation, each delegation will have the opportunity to reserve up to three (15) minute timeslots to discuss the proposed classification regulations. The slots will be reserved on a first come first served basis.
The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.