Stevens files Alaska Native gaming rider
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Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) drafted a proposal to allow Alaska Native corporations to own casinos in the continental United States.

But the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee decided not to attach it to the omnibus spending bill that cleared the chamber last night, The Anchorage Daily News reported. "The amendment was filed, (but) we've decided not to pursue it at this time," a spokesperson told the paper.

"There was some misunderstanding about what the amendment did, and we want to clarify it before we proceed," Melanie Alvord said.

Just by glancing the amendment, SA 216, it is nearly impossible to discover what it means. Only by looking at the laws it references does the proposal to allow regional corporations to own gaming establishments become clear.

The amendment states that Public Law 100-497 will include entities mentioned in Public Law 92-203. PL 100-497 is the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and PL 92-203 is the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which created the regional corporations.

The rider then ensures that 25 U.S. Code sections 465 and 467 apply to corporation-owned land by defining them as a "reservation" free from state taxes and the other associated attributes.

It also mentions that the corporations will be included "on the list provided for in Pub. L. 103-454." PL 103-434 is the List of Federally Recognized Entities, so for the sole purposes of gaming, the corporations would be treated as federally recognized tribes, which they are not currently. The corporations "shall have the same powers, authority, status and immunities as if included on that list," the amendment states.

Other laws listed authorize the Department of Interior to enter into land exchanges in order to facilitate casino development and also to incorporate land in the lower 48 already owned by Cook Inlet Region Inc.

CIRI, incidentally, is taking part ownership of a casino in Las Vegas. Gaming regulators there had some trouble recently figuring out how to apply state laws to the corporation.

Get the Amendment:
SA 216: 'Alaska Native Corporation Gaming Regulatory Act'

Get the Story:
Stevens proposes Native casinos (The Anchorage Daily News 1/24)

Related Stories:
Native corp moves towards casino nod (06/07)

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