28 February 2006

Ontario Tribal Chief Looking at Online Gambling

Ontario Tribal Chief Wants Online Gaming Vote
27 February 2006

ONTARIO – As reported by the Hamilton Spectator: "Six Nations Chief David General believes the people will have to decide whether Internet gaming is a safe bet for Canada's most populous native reserve.

"He said all members of the elected band council now agree the thorny question, which first surfaced three years ago, has to be determined by the voters themselves.

"'The only way we can do it is by having a referendum,' General said at the band council offices yesterday.

"He said the vote would probably be held within the year and would mean contacting all eligible voters among the 22,000 band members, only about half of whom live on the reserve outside Brantford. The others are scattered over Canada and the United States and in military units overseas.

"And even if supporters win the vote, elected officials would have to deal with the implications of sanctioning an activity that's still illegal anywhere in Canada.

"…Proponents of Internet gaming claimed it would create high-tech jobs on the reserve and bring in about $3 million a year in licensing fees for the band council. As far as the legality was concerned, they argued the reserve is a sovereign nation and not subject to Canadian laws. They pointed out that the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal allows Internet gaming -- the only jurisdiction in Canada that does -- and could act as a model for Six Nations. The authorities have never tried to close it down…"

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