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Tribal Gaming Wants Seat At Table On Internet Gaming

By Evelina Burnett | Published 13 May 2014 08:54am | comments

The chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians wants to make sure tribal issues aren't ignored as technology changes the gaming industry in the US. 

This July will mark 20 years since the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians opened its first casino in Neshoba county. Chief Phyliss Anderson, who was elected three years ago, says gaming has changed life for the 10,000-plus tribal members, helping pay for education, health care, public safety and other areas.

"It has helped us to be able to provide scholarships to our students, it has helped us to build homes," she says. "And with our growing population today, we need to continue to bring more revenues in to our tribal members, so that we can continue to provide services that are so badly needed for our people."

Speaking at the Southern Gaming Summit in Biloxi, Anderson said she believes internet gambling will be a part of gaming's future and she wants to ensure tribes have a seat at the table as regulations are made.

"We need to make sure that our state and tribal compacts are protected, and we want to make sure our sovereignty is protected as well," she says. "We need to be there to talk about these issues, so tribal-specific issues are not neglected."

Jason Giles is executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association. He says the economy and getting back to pre-recession levels is the main concern for most tribal gaming operations. But internet gaming is also at the top of their list.

"The way technology is advancing, all tribal gaming operations have to have that capacity to switch over very fast to what's going on digitally in America," he says.

According to the Association, there are 450 tribal gaming facilities in the U-S, bringing in around $29 billion dollars of revenue. 

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