For Immediate Release
Contact: Shawn Pensoneau
NIGC and Several California Tribes Agree on Class III MICS Oversight
Washington, DC, January 15, 2008 — At the invitation of several Tribes in the State of California, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has been exploring ways to restore NIGC’s oversight role in Class III Indian gaming removed by the decision in Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) v. NIGC. Today, NIGC Chairman Philip N. Hogen announced an agreement that reinstates NIGC’s oversight of minimum internal control standards (MICS) at several Class III gaming operations. The Pala Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, Picayune Rancheria, Rumsey Indian Rancheria, Twenty Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians and the United Auburn Indian Community each adopted a gaming ordinance that requires compliance with NIGC’s MICS. Chairman Hogen approved the ordinances on January 11, 2008.
Since the CRIT ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuitin October of 2006, the NIGC has not conducted any MICS audits at any Class III Indian gaming operation, except by express invitation of the Tribe. The court ruled that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) did not provide NIGC with the authority to impose minimum internal control standards upon Class III Indian gaming. The standards cover cash handling and counting, internal audits, surveillance and the games themselves, including technical standards for gaming equipment. The newly approved ordinances allow the NIGC to inspect and investigate MICS compliance and bring appropriate enforcement actions for MICS violations.
NIGC Chairman Phil Hogen stated “In 1988 when Congress adopted IGRA, bingo was the major component to Indian gaming and I think it was clear that the NIGC would have an oversight role of all Indian gaming. In 1999, when NIGC promulgated MICS, we had a wonderful tool to measure performance and it is this function that played a role in the explosive growth in the Indian gaming industry by providing additional confidence to the public. Where there are weaknesses, we step in to provide assistance to the tribes in need. The CRIT decision created a significant hole in the oversight and regulation of Indian gaming, which these tribes have repaired through the exercise of their own inherent authority. The Commission and I look forward once again to assisting these tribes in their regulation of Class III gaming.”
The NIGC is an independent regulatory agency established within the Department of the Interior pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.