The Saskatchewan First Nation tribe's first online casino created in cooperation with the GeoBET Gambling Network is set for launch this week despite the fact that there was no dialogue with Canadian Authorities. The move promises to trigger a response from Canadian provincial and/or federal government over the legality of the offering.
However, Bernie Shepherd, the former Chief of the White Bear and the driving force behind Indian owned land-based casinos in Canada, said he is relying on consultation and advice from industry experts, lawyers and his own experience and had not entered into dialogue with Government at any level regarding the project.
Claiming Saskatchewan First Nations rights to grab a piece of the rapidly growing multibillion-dollar industry, Shepherd said: "I'm establishing our jurisdiction. We have inherent rights - treaty rights and constitutional rights. In our minds, this is legal!"
According to Shepherd, a Wapi Muskwa (White Bear in Cree) Gaming Act has been drafted which will govern their online activity.
Commenting on the current issue, Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary said that running an online gaming company "continues to be illegal in Canada, but the Government is faced with substantial challenges in determining the appropriate course of action to be taken concerning internet gambling."