Indian Gaming:

Federal Controls Did Not Detect Compact Approval Violation

RCED-98-45R: Published: Dec 19, 1997. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 1997.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Victor S. Rezendes
(202) 512-6082
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed the implementation of gaming regulation by the National Indian Gaming Commission, the state of Washington, and several other states. GAO noted that the Nisqually Indian Tribe was operating class III (casino-type) gaming in Washington without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, which is required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

GAO noted that: (1) the tribe did not submit its compact with the state of Washington to the Secretary of the Interior for approval until very recently; (2) as a result, the Indian Gaming Management Staff, an administrative office within the Bureau of Indian Affairs that receives and logs in the compacts submitted for the Secretary's approval and publishes a list of approved compacts, did not know that the tribe had a compact with the state; (3) in addition, the National Indian Gaming Commission, which oversees and enforces compliance with class III gaming regulations, was not aware that the Nisqually Indian Tribe was operating class III gaming without the required approval of its compact; and (4) although it is unknown why this omission was not detected, GAO is concerned that similar instances of noncompliance may or could exist elsewhere and go unnoticed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The tribe had been operating a casino without a federally approved compact in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's requirements and the Commission's regulations. Since the tribe now has a federally approved compact, effective March 30, 1998, the recommendation is complete.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission, should take the steps necessary to bring the Nisqually Tribe's gaming operation into compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's requirements and with the Commission's regulations.

    Agency Affected: National Indian Gaming Commission

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commission's review of all gaming tribes with state compacts found that this tribe's operation of casino gaming without a federally approved compact was a unique situation. The review and evaluation of Commission controls and procedures will be evolutionary and dependent on staffing levels which have been limited (See GAO/RCED-98-97). Furthermore, the Commission's funding from casino operations has been challenged in court and staffing increases at the Commission have been minimal during fiscal year 1998.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, National Indian Gaming Commission, should determine if similar violations are occurring elsewhere. In addition, to avoid similar violations in the future, the Chairman should review and evaluate the Commission's current controls, including reporting requirements, processes, and procedures for overseeing class III gaming, and take appropriate steps to strengthen the controls to ensure compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's requirements and with the Commission's regulations.

    Agency Affected: National Indian Gaming Commission

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 28, 2016

Sep 27, 2016

Sep 26, 2016

Sep 23, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Aug 30, 2016

Aug 11, 2016

Jul 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here