Canadian Gambling Commission planned

Tribal operators want more control over revenues

According to CBC reports this week, Canadian First Nation leaders plan to set up a gambling commission to give them more control over the major revenues generated by tribal land casinos.

The issue is on the agenda for this week’s annual meeting of the Assembly of First Nations in Winnipeg, where some leaders say the time is right for a national First Nations gaming association to gain more control over revenues from gambling.

"It's all about sovereignty and jurisdiction and exerting that and occupying the field so that we can in turn have our own First Nations gaming act," said Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Little Black Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan - home to six First Nation casinos.

Most provinces that have commercial gaming have agreements in place to share revenues with First Nations communities, and many aboriginal leaders view casinos and video lottery terminals as an effective way of creating jobs on reserves, where high unemployment is a chronic problem.

An American delegate told the AFN conference that First Nations gaming in the U.S. generated US$26 billion in revenues last year in the 28 states that have casinos on reservations

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