Purpose of the Gaming Commission
The Gaming Commission’s role is defined by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi’s Gaming Regulatory Act of 2010 which made gaming lawful within the Tribe’s jurisdiction and delegated the primary regulatory role to the Commission.
The Commission ensures that all gaming within the Tribe’s jurisdiction is conducted in compliance with Tribal and Federal law and the agreement between the Tribe and the State of Michigan. In exercising its regulatory authority the Commission does not interfere with the managerial discretion of gaming operations.
The Commission’s primary mission is to work within the framework created by the Tribe’s Gaming Regulatory Act of 2010, the Federal Government’s Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and the Compact between the Tribe and the State of Michigan. The confluence of the Tribe’s gaming law, the Federal Government’s gaming law and the Tribe-State compact is to:
- Promote Tribal economic development self-sufficiency and strong Tribal governments
- Maintain the integrity of Indian gaming
- Ensure that the Tribe is the primary beneficiary of its gaming activities
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that states had no authority to prosecute gaming conducted on Indian land (California v. Cabazon). State governments reacted with alarm and Congress began consideration of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). In 1988, IGRA became law after Tribes and states reached a compromise which gave states unprecedented regulatory participation through the negotiation of Tribal-state gaming compacts.
IGRA recognizes the right of Tribes to conduct gaming on Tribal land in states where similar gaming is permitted outside the Reservation for other purposes. IGRA also emphasizes the dire economic need of Tribes, citing gaming as one of the few revenue-producing opportunities that has generated adequate revenues to sustain Tribal governments.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act creates three classes of Tribal gaming: Class I Social games played solely for prizes of minimal value or traditional forms of Indian gaming as part of Tribal ceremonies or celebrations;
Class II Bingo and related games, including pull tabs, lotto, punch boards, tip jars, instant bingo and some card games (excluding house-banked card games), and;
Class III All forms of gaming that are not Class I or Class II, including slot machines and house-banked table games, such as blackjack, roulette and dice games. (Only Class III games require Tribal-state compacts.)
NHBP Independent Gaming Regulatory Framework
Tribal Government gaming on the Potawatomi Reservation is governed in accordance with federal laws. In 2000, the band adopted, by resolution, the Tribal Gaming Ordinance and Tribal Gaming Regulations. These are comprehensive controls similar to those enforced in Nevada, which govern the Class II and Class III gaming operations of FireKeepers Casino and Hotel. The mission of the NHBP Gaming Ordinance, Gaming Regulations and Gaming Commission staff is to ensure full compliance with all applicable Tribal, federal and state statutes, as well as the Tribal-state gaming compacts and to protect the integrity of the games for the patrons and the tribe.
The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) is a federal watchdog with extensive regulatory authority over Tribal gaming operations. The NIGC must give final approval to all Tribal gaming ordinances, management contracts and has the power to conduct background investigations and object to any person hired and licensed by a tribal government to work in a casino.