Chairman Campbell's Opening Statement

11 June 1999
Statement of Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate
Hearing on the Internet Gaming Prohibition Act

Good morning. The Committee will come to order.

This morning we will consider legislation to prohibit most forms of gambling now conducted on the Internet, and how that legislation will impact tribal gaming activities conducted under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

It should be acknowledged up front that there are certain forms of gambling that will not be impacted by the bill, and in fact have been granted exemptions under S.692. These include state lotteries, horse racing, and so-called "fantasy sports leagues".

The bill will have impacts on Indian gaming. That is clear. On the heels of the 1987 Supreme Court decision in Cabazon

Band of Mission Indians v. California, this Committee began consideration of what was to become the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

The Committee had the foresight to realize that gaming conducted by Indian tribes should benefit from advances in technology. For instance, the Committee envisioned that distinct tribes on various reservations, could link players electronically, by cable, telephone, or satellite, and thereby increase the attractiveness of the games.

Many tribes are now doing precisely that, and are threatened by the provisions of the Internet Gaming Prohibition Act.

There are other potential impacts that we will explore today. I am pleased to see that this bill has been modified in certain key respects, one of them being jurisdiction and authority over violations of the proposed act alleged to occur on Indian lands.

In particular, I am interested in hearing from the Department of Justice and the National Indian Gaming Commission about regulatory issues, and the effectiveness of the proposed regulatory framework under S.692. With that, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today.