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US Interior Department Unveils New Tribal Gaming Regulations

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The United States Interior Department has introduced updated federal regulations aimed at making Indian gaming compacts clearer and more transparent. The revisions were made to 25 C.F.R. Part 293, a specific section of the Code of Federal Regulations that laid down the regulations for the “Class III Tribal State Gaming Compact Process.”

The changes are expected to improve the clarity of the Interior Department's criteria for approving tribal deals. These include setting clear negotiation boundaries, explaining important terms, and stating when the Interior Department should review a compact. With the updated gambling regulations, the Interior Department seeks to simplify the negotiation process for tribes in gaming deals. The rules also aim to make it simpler for tribes to get approval from the Interior Department when they make agreements with states.

According to the Interior Department, it considered suggestions and input from tribes before finalizing the details of the new regulations. The rules will become effective 30 days after they get officially published in the Federal Register, which is likely to occur this week.

Not only does Indian gaming support tribal economies, but the funding it generates helps to support the vital services that tribal nations provide to their citizens. By updating these regulations, we will provide certainty and clarity to tribes for an industry that remains one of the most significant sources of economic development in Indian country.

Deb HaalandInterior Department Secretary

Tribes’ Concerns over Gaming Sovereignty

Gaming is considered one of the major forces behind the economic growth of tribes in the United States. However, there is an ongoing concern amongst tribal nations about state governments and courts wanting to encroach upon their gaming sovereignty.

The National Indian Gaming Commission's yearly report reveals a 4.9% increase in revenues for 2022, reaching $40.9 billion. This $1.9 billion gain from the previous year marks the highest recorded increase to date.

The successful figures of the tribal gaming industry have attracted politicians and certain commercial gaming interests who aim to get a piece of the action. This has led to a series of legal disputes between tribes and states, especially in the past year.

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