Agua Caliente granted mobile gaming license in California

Business News

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) announced the approval of alternate standards for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Agua Caliente) applicable to Class II mobile gaming on its reservation lands in Southern California. 

The approval, issued by Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri, allows the Tribe to apply “Alternate Standards” for Class II mobile gaming using player owned mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The Alternate Standards were submitted by the Agua Caliente Gaming Commission, the Tribal gaming regulatory agency of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, pursuant to 25 C.F.R. Part 547 – Minimum Technical Standards for Class II Gaming Systems and Equipment.  The submission included documentation of an overall regulatory framework for Class II mobile gaming developed by Agua Caliente based on best practices from other jurisdictions that regulate mobile gaming, all of which were thoroughly reviewed by the NIGC when making a final decision.

The NIGC published mobile gaming standards as a discussion draft for 2017 consultation purposes and is currently reviewing comments and feedback it received. Many of the comments received stated that mobile technology is still developing and the creation of technical standards would be a hindrance to this new gaming avenue. The Commission, however, has committed to creating additional guidance for mobile gaming and this approval will further the development of that guidance.

“The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians through their tribal gaming regulatory agency has worked closely with the NIGC to ensure their Alternate Standards achieve a level of security and integrity sufficient to exceed the requirements of Part 547. This is a prime example of how the tribal gaming industry has been at the forefront of innovation and continues to adapt to the ever-changing customer base,” said NIGC Chairman Chaudhuri.

Agua Caliente Band Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe noted that “the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is proud and honored to be the first tribe in the country to adopt and receive affirmative approval for Class II mobile gaming standards.

The Agua Caliente Gaming Commission, together with our legal department, NIGC technical experts, and NIGC legal counsel spent a lot of time and energy adapting, for tribal use, the best standards from other prominent gaming jurisdictions, such as Nevada and New Jersey, and requiring the use of state of the art technology for regulatory functions, such as geo-location and age verification. Our first priority was to create a regulatory framework that is second to none, using industry best-practices in order to protect the integrity of Class II mobile gaming and ensure that such gaming occurs solely on Indian lands.”

NIGC Director of Technology, Travis Waldo stated, “It is exciting to see tribal leaders and tribal gaming regulators use the flexibility available in Part 547 to develop creative regulatory and technology solutions that fit their specific jurisdictional needs. These meticulously drafted Alternate Standards, along with the additional standards not contemplated in Part 547, carry out the intent of the IGRA to support tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.”

The Chairman has approved the submitted alternate standards. The included additional standards enhance, rather than provide alternate standards to Part 547 and therefore do not require approval by the Chairman.