Members of the Alaska Charitable Gaming Alliance (ACGA) and those interested in gaming policy may find value in news and media coverage on the subject. In support of ACGA’s mission to protect charitable gaming, Alaskans might also want to contact local, state and federal lawmakers with input. This page offers links to media coverage, ACGA media communications, and contact information for elected policymakers.
Charitable Gaming in the News
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Video and Internet Gambling are not Jackpots for Alaska
Alaska doesn’t need online gambling, sports betting, video lottery terminals or the slippery-slope gaming advances, conceivably legalized through SB 188, that have tangibly harmed other states. We have a deficit that has long needed to be resolved, while oil prices are tanking in the face of COVID-19, and sectors like tourism and building trades are feeling the pressure.
Alaska moves to block Eklutna tribal gaming, saying success could allow similar projects statewide
The state of Alaska is opposing a federal lawsuit brought by the Native Village of Eklutna as it attempts to build a tribal gaming hall about 20 miles north of downtown Anchorage.
According to documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the state believes other Alaska tribes will open similar operations if Eklutna succeeds in overturning a federal opinion and opens what Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has called “a modest Class II casino.”
“A ruling that the opinion is invalid may open the door to (Indian Gaming Rights Act) gaming on other properties across Alaska,” wrote assistant attorney general Lael Harrison.
Eklutna wants to open a tribal gaming casino; Alaska says that challenges the state’s sovereignty
In the state’s early history, a federal law — the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act — parceled out land to 12 regional corporations, Native Village corporations and thousands of tribal allotments. In exchange Alaska Natives gave up further claims to land and most of the resources on and under the ground.
Alaska also considers most gambling — outside of state-licensed gaming — illegal.
Assistant Attorney General Mariah Bahr says Alaska has a lot at stake.
“The State wants to be involved because this case has the potential to impact the state’s sovereign jurisdictional, regulatory, and taking authority interests,” she said. “Only the state can adequately protect those interests.”
Birchwood council asks state to oppose lawsuit that could bring a casino to the area
In a 10-3 vote, council members said they would like the state to oppose the lawsuit, which if successful, could allow the tribal government to open a gaming facility on a small parcel of private land near the intersection of the Birchwood Spur Road and the Alaska Railroad tracks in Birchwood. Councilmember Matt Cruickshank offered the motion asking the state to oppose any action that would be incompatible with the area’s comprehensive plan.”
Eklutna casino no jackpot
“A casino in Eklutna would not eliminate other forms of gambling in Southcentral Alaska, but it would almost certainly be a serious competitor and likely attract the lion’s share of gambling activity — to the detriment of organizations now benefitting from the system.”
Why Alaska doesn’t allow casinos
“Outside, Indian casinos have proven among the biggest of those economic engines. But casino development in Alaska was long blocked by the lack of “Indian country” on which to build. That changed when Gov. Bill Walker decided to end state efforts to block the Secretary of the Interior from taking Native lands into trust.
Indian Country is coming soon to Alaska and with it the opportunity for casino development somewhere.”
Indian Law Attorney Don Mitchell’s overview
“…in 1988, Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The act divided gambling into three classes. Bingo, the sale of pull-tab cards and certain card games are Class II. Most other forms of gambling are Class III.
The act also created a National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), whose chairman was authorized to approve gaming ordinances that allow an “Indian tribe” to operate a Class II or Class III gambling facility on the tribe’s “Indian lands.” “
“Although Class II forms of gambling are principally limited to bingo and the sale of pull-tab cards, in response to pressure from Indian tribes in the coterminous states in 2002 the NIGC changed its regulations to allow video gaming machines whose software has been programmed to play bingo (rather than poker or to mimic a spinning reel slot machine) to be a Class II form of gambling. As a consequence, there now are casinos on Indian reservations whose gaming floors are full to bursting with beeping and blinking Class II machines.”