Nevada’s online gambling bill is still alive and kicking, in spite of some setbacks last week.
The original gaming bill, AB578, got hung up in the state Senate last week due to a legislative backlog. Supporters were unwilling to let the bill die, however, and pushed for a resurrection waiver, which would allow them to reintroduce the legislation at a later date.
That option was not needed, as supporters decided to piggyback the gaming legislation on AB466, a measure that would provide work cards for gaming employees, on the evening of June 3. AB466 was chosen as the vehicle for the gambling bill in order to prevent it from being attached to one of two controversial tax bills that would likely have led to its demise.
The senate is expected to approve the bill on June 4, and then pass it on to Governor Kenny Guinn for final approval.
The legislature is under a deadline, as the session ends on June 4 and does not meet again for another two years.
Stay tuned to WINNERonline for more details as they become available.
Where the Heck is Kahnawake?
How many times have you visited an online casino and seen the words, ‘Licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission’ and wondered who or what the heck Kahnawake is?
We thought we’d put your mind at ease and spell it out for you.
What is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission?
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) is the governing body that regulates online gambling operations in the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake.
For those of you who don’t know, Kahnawake is a First Nations (Indian) reservation located 10 kilometers outside of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and is home to the KGC’s servers – the computers that host online casino web sites operated by KGC licensees.
The commission was created in 1996 and began licensing online casinos in 1999, promoting itself as an alternative to offshore gambling service providers. It currently licenses 14 online casinos, using a set of gaming regulations based on the Australian online Judi Bola Online gambling model.
What’s so special about Kahnawake?
It’s in North America. The KGC has the only servers in North America that host real-money online gambling sites. All other real-money sites are based in the Caribbean, Australia, or Europe.
That said, there are a few distinct advantages to being located in North America.
First, the casino sites should be more reliable. There isn’t much chance of a hurricane passing through Kahnawake, but they go through the Caribbean annually. And with hurricanes come power outages, downed telephone lines, and service disruptions.
Second, there’s easy access to lots bandwidth. Kahnawake is located very close to a major metropolitan center (Montreal), and as a result, is able to provide the bandwidth necessary to host several online casinos at any one time. The casinos should theoretically play faster with the extra bandwidth.
Third, the casinos are being operated in a first-world country. Players don’t have to deal with the eccentricities of Caribbean island nations, and operators can say their casino is based in North America.
Is the KGC’s operation legal?
That’s a bit of a gray area right now, and it kind of depends on whom you talk to.
The Canadian government says online casinos are illegal, but natives across Canada say they have the right to do what they want on reservations.
The Canadian Criminal Code, like U.S. laws, prohibits wagering over telephone lines. What’s more, gambling operations in Canada need a provincial gambling license in order to be legit. (Gaming software manufacturer Starnet Communications was raided for, among other things, taking bets without a provincial license.)
But some native groups took exception to the licensing regulations, arguing that the Canadian Constitution Act recognizes and affirms “a broad right to manage the use of their reserve lands.” They’ve interpreted that to mean the right to participate in, and to regulate, gambling activities on reserves.
The federal government didn’t agree with that argument, largely because gambling wasn’t “integral to the distinctive culture of the aboriginal group” – a central component of the rights granted by the Constitution.
The Canadian government relaxed gaming restrictions, however, and allowed the provinces to issue licenses for native gambling. But the licenses have become somewhat of a moot point, because some native groups don’t believe they need one. And the KGC is one of those groups.
What does all of that mean?
The situation is at a bit of a legal impasse right now. And it becomes even stickier when the recent history of the region is thrown into the mix.
There was a heated standoff in the summer of 1990 between the Canadian military and Mohawk warriors from the Kahnawake and neighboring Kanesatake reserves over disputed land. Mohawks emerged victorious from the confrontation, but federal and provincial authorities are now reluctant to enter the reserves – or take a strong stand on native issues, for that matter.
And they are even less inclined to act when the waters are as murky as they are on gambling issues.
Even though the Attorneys General of Canada and Quebec have declared that the Kahnawake licensing operation is illegal, it’s highly unlikely they will do anything about it in the near future. This is a political hot potato that no one wants to burn their hands on.
So it seems that players will be able to enjoy the benefits of gambling at a KGC licensee for the foreseeable future.