Native American tribes continue to question the impact online poker laws will have on their gaming revenues. Although some tribes there may be many benefits to online gaming regulation, others are more concerned.
Nevada tribes appear more concerned than those in other regions. Nevada is closer to implementing a regulated online gaming market than any other state in the country. Therefore, they are forced to take a much more serious look at the effect that online poker will bring.
According to Sheila Morago, the executive director of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, the impacts of online gaming can benefit some groups while harming the livelihood of others. Native American tribes have been hit hard from the economic downturn. A new study by economist Alan Meister of Nathan Associates Inc. found that tribes are just beginning to recover from the fallout from the recession.
Tribes faced a 1% decline in revenues during 2009. Meister found that they have since recouped the majority of those losses the following year. However, it may take a couple more years before they can fully recover their revenues.
Morago fears that regulation could be the next big threat to land-based casinos. She pointed out that more than half the states in the union have agreements for online gambling. Federal regulation would complicate matters as tribes would be facing more competition from other gaming institutions.
Her fears are shared by Leslie Lohse, the Chairwoman of the California Tribal Business Alliance. Lohse said that casinos have been instrumental in helping tribes recover their earnings.
A number of gaming experts from various tribes participated in an igaming conference at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas. The conference had representatives from all over the world.
Although tribes in Nevada are particularly worried about the prospect of online poker regulation, their counterparts in other states are growing uneasy as well. An attorney representing tribes in California has warned that Californian tribes are threatening to sue the United States government if Congress passes laws which violate their sovereign rights to online poker.