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Kahnawake Wants Online Gambling Recognition

1 November 2010 by admin

Currently in the Canadian province of Quebec, the only legal gambling is run by the government. That includes Loto-Quebec as well as the new Montreal Casino. There is no online gambling allowed yet, though the province agreed on plans to launch a government-provided and regulated online gambling industry. All of this leaves the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake in an interesting situation.

loto-quebec-svgThe Mohawk Council of Kahnawake runs its own tribal casinos on sovereign tribal land. Those casinos allow both aboriginal people and “indigenous” Canadian citizens to play. In addition to the brick and mortar casinos, they also run Mohawk Internet Technologies (MIT), which is their online gambling operation. MIT runs online casinos that have agreements with regulators in many jurisdictions, including Malta, Barbuda and Antigua. One government with which they do not yet have an agreement, though, is Quebec. That is something they want to change.

Without being recognized and accepted by Quebec’s government, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission cannot get on Britain’s “white list,” which would allow them to advertise in the UK. Many other governments would also be more likely to accept MIT if they are accepted by Quebec. The official stance by the Quebec government, however, is that there is no official stance. Because there is no agreement between the Mohawks and the Quebec government, technically they are operating outside of the law. There seem to be no plans for the authorities to attempt to enforce the law, though.

Though “indigenous” Canadian citizens have been fined heavily for running illegal gambling houses, there have been no raids on Mohawk casinos. Furthermore, no one expects there to be. While some say that the laws need to be enforced equally, others are more practical. Ronald Niezen, professor of anthropology at McGill University and a specialist on relations with aboriginal people, said that “in the shadow of Oka,” the last thing the government wants is to have another conflict with the Mohawks over sovereignty.

He is referring to a land dispute in 1980 between the Mohawks and the town of Oka that resulted in the Mohawks blockading the busy Mercier Bridge for eight weeks. The same bridge was shut down by the Mohawks again in 2007 as a way of showing sovereignty. Trying to avoid another conflict during a bad recession and troubling political climate, it seems that the government is content to let the Mohawks do what they want on their territory.Oka_lasagna_stare_down

Ten years ago, the Mohawks tried to reach an agreement with Quebec over gambling, but the meeting quickly fell apart and the subject wasn’t seriously broached again until this year. On September 20, 2010, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake requested and received a meeting with Quebec representatives in an attempt to negotiate some sort of gaming agreement. It was a preliminary meeting meant to explore the subject and see where both sides stand.

In addition to the question of Mohawk sovereignty in regards to gambling, they have also offered to help Quebec with their own online gambling plans. With Quebec soon to launch their own online gambling industry, they could use the expertise of the Mohawks, who have been doing it for a while.

3 Responses to “Kahnawake Wants Online Gambling Recognition”

  1. […] Earlier this year, Quebec announced that their lottery monopoly, Loto Quebec, would offer online gambling services for the province’s residents. This followed on […]

  2. James says:

    Hi, Danielle. Some Canadian provinces allow online gambling, but not all. The Kahnawake Mohawk territory is located in Quebec, where currently online gambling is only legal if it is the government-run monopoly. Though the government is allowing the Kahnawake Mohawks to run their online casino by default, the tribe is now asking for being allowed formally.

  3. danielle jacobs says:

    so internet gambling is not yet regulated in Canada? But I heard a news weeks ago saying that it has already been legalized. I’m quite confused here. I hope you can provide me with real data.