National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman E Sequoyah Simermeyer addressed tribal regulators from the New Mexico Association of Indian Gaming Commissions this week, revealing plans for a new commission bulletin on sportsbooks, and forecasts for a public-facing advisory group on agency bulletins.
The event, which took place at the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel, was one of Simermeyer’s first public meetings since being commissioned to serve as NIGC Chairman. The casino was among the first tribally regulated sportsbooks to open following the strikedown of PASPA.
“Clear Agency guidance empowers tribal communities to regulate and develop Indian gaming in their own communities,” he told delegates, adding: “Today’s bulletin provides a new resource for tribes contemplating policy considerations related to the sound regulation of sports betting on Indian lands. It also underscores the NIGC’s role in the oversight of sports books on Indian lands as part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act’s framework.”
The bulletin, which is available on the NIGC website at www.nigc.gov, responds to requests made by tribal officials and the Indian gaming industry in recent years. Those requests sought clarification from the commission on the topic of sportsbooks on Indian lands.
It also discusses the use of fact-specific advisory opinions from the agency. Those opinions serve as proactive assessments of agreements during the planning phase of a tribally-regulated sportsbook operation. Specifically, it describes how such agreements might implicate management and violate the sole proprietary interest requirement under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
Simermeyer went on to share his plan to emphasize outreach and agency accountability in the NIGC’s daily operations, specifically the NIGC website which is host to numerous bulletins on a variety of topics.
He discussed the commission’s support for a more formal process that would invite tribal representatives to participate in a public-facing group to advise the commission on NIGC bulletins, including potential topics for future bulletins.
Addressing the New Mexico Association of Indian Gaming Commissions he said: “It is the NIGC Commissioners’ responsibility to maintain this body of guidance in an informed and transparent manner. An advisory group can only aid the commission in ensuring that its guidance remains relevant and continues to address the needs of a growing and sophisticated industry.”
He concluded by saying that he is currently working with Vice Chair Isom-Clause on a process to stand up an advisory group and hoped to offer more details in the coming weeks.