NIGC warns tribes of IGRA rules on sports betting deals
The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has released a new advisory bulletin that warns Native American tribes of key considerations and potential restrictions they face under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) when rolling out sports betting.
Speaking at a meeting of the New Mexico Association of Indian Gaming Commissions, NIGC chair E. Sequoyah Simermeyer explained that the bulletin was designed to clarify the legality of sportsbooks on tribal lands, following numerous queries from operators.
Since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018, Simermeyer noted, tribes in Mississippi, New Mexico and New York had joined a Nevada-based tribal operator in rolling out wagering.
This is permitted, as sports betting is considered a form of Class III gaming, which can be rolled out by tribes that have a state compact approved by the US Department of the Interior. The bulletin advises tribes to check whether Class III gaming is covered by their existing compacts, or if it should be amended to include sports betting.
There are currently four options or models for tribes to consider when preparing to launch wagering, it continued. These range from complete control – when tribes manage all aspects of a sportsbook – to a sportsbook wholly owned and operated by a third party, but hosted on tribal lands.
In between, there is the option of having a sportsbook operated by a tribe, but using third-party data, or a tribal-owned sportsbook managed by a third party.