Speculation has arisen that Indian Tribes may be working on their own federal online poker bill especially since the tribes are going to be meeting this Thursday for a hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The hearing is set for this Thursday afternoon and will be broadcast live online at the Indian Affairs website.
John Pappas, the Poker Players Alliance executive director, stated his thoughts on the subject by commenting: “I think the timing (of the hearing) is around the idea that India tribes are interested in drafting their own legislation. They want to stake a claim to the process and feel that the best way for them to assert their interests is through their own bill.”
The hearing will see several individuals testifying, including Jon Porter, who is a lobbyist for the PPA and a former Nevada congressman. The other witnesses of the hearing will be in the interest of the tribe which includes: Jamie Hummingbird the chairman of the National Tribal Gaming Commissioners/regulators, Elizabeth Homer an attorney who specializes in gaming related cases of American Indians, Bruce Bozsum the chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, Tracie Stevens the chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission and Glen Gobin the secretary of the Tulalip Tribes.
The committee has already discussed the issue at two previous hearings over the past few months and the PPA sent a representative to both hearings. If the Indian Tribes have created a new federal bill to propose it would most likely not be passed. However, a bill would outline the points that the tribes sound like to see the current bill which is being drafted to list. The current bill is being created by Jon Kyl and Harry Reid.
After the hearing tomorrow, we should know more as to where the tribes stand as well as how close the country is to offering online poker options. Many government officials would like to see some type of legislation passed in favor of online poker by the end of the year and hopefully this will come to fruition.