Saskatchewan Government Opposes Tribal Online Casino

Published Tuesday, November 06, 2012 -

According to news published recently by the StarPhoenix in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada the launch of an online casino by a First Nations tribal casino is going to cause some ripples in the provincial legislature.

The provincial minister Donna Harpauer was quoted as saying that she thought the launch was "probably" illegal. The minister did not however indicate any action would be taken following the launch. Saskatchewan’s Liquor and Gaming Authority is responsible for the issues created by this event. "Right now, I'm going to see what the formal announcement is," Harpauer said at a press conference in the Saskatchewan capital of Regina recently, "We'll take a look at that and see what our options are,” the minister said.

The instigator of the idea Bernie Shepherd said he plans to launch the online Northern Bear Casino November 6th. He also maintained he believes the First Nation’s online casino is legal and asserted it is the right of the First Nation to create this entity. Harpauer disagrees and has adopted the wait and see approach, saying, "Once I see it and what they're doing, we'll look at our options at that point in time," adding, "We'll have to get advisement, I'm sure, because there are legal issues." The government has debated the issue of allowing online casinos in Saskatchewan concluding they would not be allowed.

The White Bear First Nations online casino will bring the issue up again with the Minister in charge of gambling declaring the launch illegal. The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority which operates six casinos said the organization has no connection to the online casino venture. SIGA president and Chief Executive Officer, Zane Hansen said they will watch the process unfold, saying, "We have to come to grips with it at some stage." Saskatchewan’s Liquor and Gaming Authority former minister Ken Cheveldayoff said, the province is losing "millions" per year by not hosting online gaming sites.

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