NIGA SPOTLIGHT: Sports Betting in Indian Country

This past August, NIGA Tribal Leaders and Industry professionals gathered at Santa Ana Pueblo, in Bernalillo, New Mexico, to discuss sports betting in Indian Country.  NIGA gathered to tackle the important issue of sports betting after the Supreme Court’s Murphy decision and the complicated provisions in existing tribal-state gaming compacts that vary from tribe to tribe, and state to state.

Further complicating the sports betting debate is whether or not to facilitate legalized sports wagers over the Internet. Legal experts attending NIGA’s Sports Betting Meeting pointed out that, despite the Supreme Court’s Murphy ruling, the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) continue to prohibit the transmission of wagers across state lines.

Sports legalization bills received mixed results in state legislatures in 2019. While eight states moved to authorize at least some form of sports betting within their borders, many more failed to move forward. Sports betting bills in Oregon, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Connecticut and elsewhere were blocked at the 11th hour over the legal complexities involved with Tribal gambling.

As the debate moves forward to 2020 during a heated election year, Tribal Leaders are urging Legislators at every level to engage Indian Country early, before the debate begins or legislation is drafted, to learn about the existing tribal-state agreements that have been implemented.  Governments must consider the significant contributions of Indian gaming to not only our Reservation residents, but also to the surrounding communities and the States themselves.

Ernie Stevens, Jr. 15 Articles
Ernie Stevens, Jr. is the Chairman and national spokesperson for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) NIGA