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Six Nations Band Considers I-Gaming Referendum

3 March 2006

The Six Nations band of Native American tribes may soon ask its members to vote on whether online gambling facilities should be allowed to exist on their reservation outside Toronto. After three years of debate among the band's leaders over the prospect of hosting online gambling Web sites, all members of the elected band council now agree that its people must decide the proper course of action.

"The only way we can do it is by having a referendum," said Six Nations' elected chief, David General to newspaper The Hamilton Spectator.

Chief General and about half of the band council oppose the idea of hosting online gambling Web sites on the reservation. They argue that most of the financial benefits will go to private interests and not to Six Nations. General told The Hamilton Spectator that he does not oppose Internet gambling for moral reasons, but that he believes the band council would lose control over the hosting facility activities under the model proposed by hosting and co-locating company SixNet.

If Six Nations does decide to put the issue to a vote, it will have to contact all of eligible voters among its 22,000 band members, only about half of whom reside on the reserve.

Six Nations held public information sessions in late 2005 about the viability of hosting online gambling sites, and the majority of people who attended were in opposition to the idea. But last month an individual named Philip Skye presented the results of a door-to-door survey which he conducted himself and said supported the prospect of licensing online gambling. Skye reported having surveyed 2,153 people on the reservation and finding 973 in favor of hosting online gambling sites and 835 opposed. The remaining respondents had no opinion on the matter.

Skye's methodology has been criticized by members of the council, however, for being biased in support of gambling.

Permitting online gambling operations to exist on the reservation might prove a risky endeavor for Six Nations because the Canadian government does not license or approve of online gambling.

Proponents of online gambling argue, however, that the reserve is a sovereign nation and is, therefore, not subject to Canadian law. They note that the Kahnawake tribe, whose reservation is based outside Montreal, has hosted online gambling sites for several years. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is now one of the world's most prominent licensors of online gambling operations and to date has never faced pressure from the Canadian government to shut down.

If a vote on the issue takes place, it will likely occur within the year.

Six Nations found itself at the center of a fiasco in 2003 involving online gambling when the band council, on the recommendation of former Chief Roberta Jamieson, voted to terminate the three members of the Six Nations Gaming Commission on the grounds that they had permitted gaming companies to operate from SixNet's facilities on the reservation without notifying anyone in the tribe.

Six Nations Band Considers I-Gaming Referendum is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com