Legal Experts to Discuss Future of Tribal Government Gaming

Press Release
For Immediate Release

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Legal Experts to Discuss Future of Tribal Government Gaming

January 18, 2005

Three noted experts on tribal government gaming will discuss proposed changes that could dramatically alter the nature of Indian casinos at the upcoming Western Indian Gaming Conference in Palm Springs January 26.

The panel “The Fight to Save Class II Gaming” will focus on proposed changes by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) on the definition and technical standards of so-called Class II games, over which the NIGC has oversight responsibility.

The panel will be moderated by Michael Lombardi, a former Indian casino manager, gaming expert and the current chief regulator for the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians in the Coachella Valley. Also on the panel will be Terry Poust, a past member of the NIGC and currently an attorney practicing Indian law with the firm of Holland & Knight, and Judith Shapiro, another leading legal expert on Indian gaming who is now a sole practitioner representing a number of tribes.

“The NIGC has gone so far as to consider redefining what the game of bingo is, something that is outside their jurisdiction,” Lombardi said. “The commission is also considering requiring a type of pre-certification of Class II games before they can be operated. We find both these developments very troubling and we will be discussing the ramifications of these potential actions and others.”
Class II gaming generally refers to bingo and does not include banked card games, black jack or slot machines.

Last year the conference drew more than 600 participants and 130 exhibitors. It will be held January 26-27 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The conference is sponsored by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, the state’s largest Indian organization with 62 federally recognized member tribes. CNIGA is a non-profit trade association comprised of gaming and non-gaming tribal nations and is dedicated to the purpose of protecting the sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. It acts as a planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communications efforts on behalf of its members and serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

The Palm Springs Convention Center is located at 277 North Avenida Caballeros. CNIGA Director of Communications Susan Jensen will be on site at the conference to coordinate interview and coverage requests. She can be reached at 916-448-8706 prior to the convention. Media may obtain press credentials at the registration counters located in the Convention Center. Individuals wishing to attend the conference may register on-site beginning on Tuesday, January 25.

Additional information, including a complete schedule of events may be obtained on the CNIGA web site at www.cniga.com.

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