The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) released the following statement in response to reports about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nevada) bill for the federal government to legalize and regulate Internet Poker likely expiring this lame-duck session in Congress:
"We understand that Senator Reid's Chief of Staff has stated that the window is closed on attempts to legalize Internet gaming in the 112th Congress. However, NIGA and our Member Tribes will continue to remain vigilant through the end of the 'lame duck' session and into the new year.
It is our mission to ensure that any internet gaming related legislation must respect existing tribal rights and preserve the Sovereign and constitutionally acknowledged governmental status of Indian tribes. Gaming is an integral part of the economies of more than two hundred tribal communities.
Internet gaming would make a significant impact on the industry, and tribal communities must have fair access to any new gaming market that would be established by Congress. The current draft proposals to legalize Internet gaming ignore the more than 30 years of tribal government experience in regulating and managing gaming operations throughout the United States.
Heading into 2013, Indian country looks forward to working with the Majority Leader and members of the new Congress on the Internet gaming issue. With Tribal leader testimony and by working through regular order in the Senate, we will work to protect the success and experience that Tribes have worked so hard to attain."