The National Indian Gaming Commission was created in 1988 with the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which was enacted to support and promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments through the operation of gaming on Indian lands. The Act provides a statutory basis for the federal regulation of Indian gaming. IGRA establishes the Commission to regulate and support tribal gaming as a means of generating revenue for tribal communities. See 25 U.S.C. § 2704.

The Commission consists of three full-time members, including a Chair and two Associate Commissioners. The Chair is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The two Associate Commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. The Commission selects a Vice Chair by a majority vote. At least two members of the Commission must be members of a federally recognized Indian Tribe and only two may be of the same political party.

The National Indian Gaming Commission is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities by:

  • regulating and monitoring certain aspects of Indian gaming;
  • coordinating its regulatory responsibilities with tribal regulatory agencies;
  • providing training and technical assistance to tribal regulatory agencies;
  • reviewing and approving tribal gaming ordinances and management agreements;
  • reviewing the backgrounds of individuals and entities to ensure the suitability of those seeking to manage or invest in Indian gaming;
  • overseeing and reviewing the conduct and regulation of Indian gaming operations;
  • enforcing violations against the IGRA and its regulations; and
  • referring law enforcement matters to appropriate tribal, Federal, and state entities.

To achieve its Congressional mandate, the Commission adheres to the principles of good government, including transparency and agency accountability; promoting fiscal responsibility; operating with consistency and clarity to ensure fairness in the administration of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; and respecting the capabilities and responsibilities of each sovereign tribal nation in order to fully promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.