Tribal Government Business Law Session 4 - Internet Gaming
2.75 General, including 0.0 Ethics Credits | WSBA AV CLE Activity #375657
This fourth session will focus on the history of Internet gaming, the laws that are involved, proposals to change federal law and the technology, intellectual property, security and business issues that arise in Internet gaming.
Indian tribes have enjoyed a significant measure of success in the area of casino gaming. Today, Indian gaming is a $27 billion dollar a year industry. Indian gaming facilities are operated by 237 tribes in 28 states and employ over 600,000 people. Since the enactment of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, Tribes have borrowed and invested billions of dollars in land, gaming facilities, hotels, entertainment venues and convention facilities. The combined gross revenue from all of those facilities exceeds $30 billion dollars annually. It is estimated that the tribes engaged in gaming generate about $9 billion annually in federal tax payments and savings on federal social safety net programs and services and another $2.4 billion in state taxes and revenue sharing payments.
In recent years there has been a surge of interest in Internet gaming around the world. Gambling on the Internet is now legal in over 80 countries and generates over $30 billion a year in revenues, including about $6 billion from the United States, in spite of the limitations on such activity under the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) 31 U.S.C. §§ 5361 et seq. During 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an opinion interpreting the scope of the Wire Act (18 U.S.C. § 1084) and UIGEA which concluded that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting that is illegal under state law. The opinion had the effect of eliminating one of the primary barriers to intrastate Internet gaming. As a result several states have either initiated Internet gaming or are in the process of doing so and the manufacturers of gaming devices and technology have begun to make a major investment in the hardware and software necessary for Internet gaming in the United States. In February of this year, Nevada and Delaware entered into an agreement to facilitate interstate Internet gaming. Meanwhile financial institutions have been reluctant to process online gaming payments which may be the cause for lower than expected gaming revenue in New Jersey.
For the last five years the Congress has considered various legislative proposals to regulate Internet gaming. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requires all tribal gaming to take place on Indian lands, which is generally understood to mean that tribes have little or no access to Internet gaming. It seems clear that the investment tribes have made in gaming facilities could be at risk if the gaming market moves toward Internet based gaming. It also seems clear that changes will need to be made in federal law for interstate gaming to become possible in the U.S.
This session will focus on the history of Internet gaming, the laws that are involved, proposals to change federal law and the technology, intellectual property, security and business issues that arise in Internet gaming
Introduction - Eric Eberhard - Seattle University School of Law
Part 1 - Internet Gaming: Peril and Promise in Cyberspace - Overview of the History and Legal Framework for Internet Gaming on Indian Lands Lael Echohawk - Garvey Schubert Barer, Seattle, WA
Part 2 - Internet Gaming: Peril and Promise in Cyberspace - Developments the States, Federal Legislative Proposals and the Emerging Technology - Lael Echohawk; Ehren Richardson, Joseph Eve, Vancouver, British Columbia; Scott Warner, Garvey Schubert Barer, Seattle, Washington
Lael Echo-Hawk is Of Counsel to Garvey Schubert Barer in the Seattle office. Prior to joining the firm she served as the Counselor to the Chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Legislative Counsel to the Native American Contractors Association, and as an attorney working in the Reservation Attorney's Office at the Tulalip Tribes where she had substantial responsibility for the Tribe's gaming operations and related businesses. She is a past President of the National Native American Bar Association and the Northwest Indian Bar Association. She is a guest lecturer at the Seattle University School of Law and has been recognized as a Rising Star: Young Women Who Make a Difference. She is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.
Ehren Richardson is an Internet Gaming and Marketing Consultant at the Joseph Eve CPA firm. He provides gaming technology and consulting to the casino industry, Internet gaming operators, and casino equipment manufacturers among others. He introduced the industry to the first browser-based casino and poker software in the 1990's and partnered with SEGA gaming to introduce the first virtual horse racing device for casinos. He helped launch online poker gaming in Canada and has helped to launch mobile applications for fantasy sports.
Scott Warner is a partner in the Seattle office of Garvey Schubert Barer with extensive experience in the technology sector, business transactions, intellectual property, e-commerce, privacy and data security, web hosting, content development and clearance and domain disputes. He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer by Washington Law & Politics magazine and as one of Washington's Most Amazing Lawyers by Washington CEO Magazine.
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