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Emily D. Swoboda
 

Licensing, Hosting Battle Brews in Canadian Province

9 March 2007

Alberta Solicitor General Fred Lindsay is demanding that a First Nation band put an end to its plans to license and host online gaming companies on its reserve near Edmonton, according to the Canadian Press (CP).

Lindsay said he will not allow the AFN to set up a gaming commission similar to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), established in 1999 by the First Nation Mohawk band, in Quebec.

The Alexander First Nation (AFN), a sovereign nation, established the Alexander Gaming Commission (AGC) in March 2006, pursuant to the provisions of Alexander First Nation Band Council Resolution 2005.2006.057 and the resulting Alexander Gaming Law.

The AFN established Alexander Internet Technologies (AIT), the Web hosting entity for the AFN.

Cheryl Giblon, global sales and marketing for eNation Corporation, which built the data center for AIT, explained her take on Lindsay's statement.

"If I read this (the CP article) correctly, Lindsay is saying that AGC should not be granting any licenses and that AIT should not be hosting any online gaming companies because it goes against Canadian Criminal Code," Giblon said.

Giblon has said that the wording of the Canadian Criminal Code leaves it open to misinterpretation.

"It's not entirely clear what the Canadian government position is regarding Internet gaming because the regulations were developed under the Criminal Code before the technology existed," Giblon said. "It's not clear if the Criminal Code covers Internet gaming or not. Many believe that it doesn't."

What the Canadian Code does or does not say about Internet gambling is negligible, though, because AFN has a treaty protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Giblon said.

"Under Sec. 35 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all the rights of the AFN as a sovereign nation are protected," she added.

Giblon said AIT is in consultation with legal advisors will be releasing statements regarding the situation next week.

"From a factual perspective, AFN is now and has always been a sovereign native people and as such has consistently historically exercised ultimate and exclusive jurisdiction of the territory of Alexander First Nation," Giblon said. "The AFN entered into a treaty with Canada in 1876; Alberta didn't become a province until 1905.

So, Alexander has had relationships with Canada on a government-to-government basis longer than Alberta has been in existence."

The story within the story is that Lindsay has, with the help of the CP, made public assumptions about a connection between the AGC and its competitor, the KGC.

According to the CP, Lindsay said he is "aware that the Mohawks, who run illegal gambling operations in Quebec, have been advising the Alexander First Nation." But both Giblon and the KGC said that there is no truth to Lindsay's statement.

"It is absolutely not true that AFN was advised by the Mohawks," Giblon said."Alexander First Nation is certainly aware of Kahnawake's significant achievements in the online gaming industry, but there has been no collaboration between the two communities."

Chuck Barnett, board member of Mohawk Internet Technologies(MIT), the data centre responsible for hosting I-gaming operators in Kahnawake, concurred with Giblon saying that Lindsay's statements in the CP were false and without merit.

"The Mohawks of Kahnawake have had no hand in assisting or consulting with the Cree of Alexander in their recent efforts," Barnett said. "The agency responsible for the dissemination of these grievously erroneous statements and lack of professional verification is being dealt with."

Barnett said the CP did not contact anyone at the KGC to verify the statement and neither commission has been contacted to verify the accuracy of the statement.

"As a professional I find it irresponsible," Barnett said. "As a former journalist myself, I think that there was a great lapse in the research and verification of the elements of this story before going to print."

A call to Lindsay's office was not returned.

Licensing, Hosting Battle Brews in Canadian Province is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda