USA online gambling is no longer permitted by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. This decision was made after a specialist working in a Kahnawake-based data center was caught violating their New Jersey License.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced on Monday, 26th September, that they have reached an understanding with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission that all Kahnawake websites would stop accepting players from the USA. Any sites allowing USA online gambling would be considered illegal. These new gambling laws and regulation policy came into effect on the 30th of September and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has given all its licensees until then to cease taking any further bets from within the United States.
The Kahnawake data center specialist that violated the terms was issued a transactional waiver back in 2014 by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and this waiver allowed the specialist to operate in New Jersey's regulated market. It was reported in the New York times last year that there were several operators using their services illegally. The New York Times then contacted the gaming commission and an investigation was started.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission established itself as a licensing jurisdiction back in 1999 and has hosted many large US-facing online gambling sites in the past. It has also been content to regulate casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms that cater to gray and black markets alike. The Kahnawake jurisdiction exists within sovereign Mohawk tribal territory and was established by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. The Mohawks believe it is their aboriginal right to offer online gambling and despite some of the gray operations, their legality has never been challenged by any other jurisdiction of by Canada.
In October last year, the New York Times ran an expose revealing just how well offshore gambling companies have been able to flout the USA online gambling regulations. As part of the investigation, the newspaper discovered that a company called Continent 8 has been awarded a transactional waiver by the DGE to provide technical services to licensed online gambling sites in New Jersey. The DGE was unaware that this company managed the Kahnawake data center and hosted dozens of online gambling sites that were unregulated in the USA. The DGE is one of the strictest regulators in the online gambling industry and something had to give.
The DGE didn't launch legal proceedings and decided to talk things out instead. In a press release issued by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission Chairman Mark Jocks said, "The Council and the Commission have had a direct and productive dialogue with DGE over the past several months. We understand the DGE's concerns about online gaming sites operating in New Jersey and elsewhere in the US without being properly authorized by a regulatory body in those jurisdictions."
Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton added, "The DGE understands and respects Kahnawake's significant accomplishments in the online gaming industry over the past 17 years, grounded on the exercise of Mohawk jurisdiction. We consider the strengthening of our working relationship with the DGE to be a positive development for our respective jurisdictions, and for the online gaming industry."
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission ban on USA online gambling could likely be due to the commission's recent deal to assume ownership of Sports Interaction, a move that made this sportsbook and casino the first "legal" Canadian online casino that isn't licensed by the provinces but a First Nations band.
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