NIGC was created at a time when there were a growing number of Indian tribes engaged in gaming activities on Native American lands, but when there were no federal laws to provide clear standards or regulations for the conduct of gaming on those lands. Since 1988, NIGC has administered numerous investigations and audits, in an attempt to ensure the gaming establishments are complying with the standards outlined in the IGRA, as well as with the new policies they created as times and situations changed. However, there have been many complaints, from people directly involved, as well as outside observers, about the job NIGC has done. Among the issues: That there’s been a glaring lack of enforcement; confusion about jurisdiction; a continuing potential for large-scale criminal activity and influence; way too small a staff to handle the huge scope of areas to cover; and questions about how the net revenue from the gaming is actually used.
NIGC is an independent federal regulatory agency that monitors the work of Native American tribe’s gaming regulators, aiming to insure that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is adhered to, and to promote economic development and self-sufficiency within the tribes. Solely funded through fees collected from gaming operations under its jurisdiction, NIGC conducts investigations, background checks and audits; undertakes enforcement activities; approves ordinances before gaming can occur; and issues notices of violation and closure orders. It also works to stay on top of new innovations, ideas, and changes in technology, and provides training to the Indian gaming industry and regulators. Headquartered in Washington D.C. and overseeing around 400 casinos, NGIC also has five regional offices, which are located in Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California; St. Paul, Minnesota; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Portland, Oregon.
(Amador County, California) (pdf)
Confirmed on June 22, 2010, as chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Tracie Stevens became the first woman to lead the oversight body for the $27 billion Indian gaming industry.