Kahnawà:ke Fight For Their Gaming Rights

By Ben Hamill - February 20 2022

Kahnawake Fight For Their Gaming Rights

The Mohawk Council Of Kahnawake are not taking recent developments in the gambling industry lying down. The First Nation has engaged with the federal and provincial government twice over the last few weeks, and this seems to just be the beginning. Top on the list of matters discussed was David Lametti, justice and attorney general of Canada, who has allegedly not engaged with the Council on several important matters.

A spokesperson for the First Nation explained that Lametti did not engage on matters regarding Bill C-218. That is; the recent, ground-breaking Bill that legalized single event betting. It was clear that legalization of single event wagering would be having an enormous impact on regulated gambling, the spokesperson explained, yet there was virtually no consultation with the Council.

Several Unfulfilled Promises

The first meeting was attended by grand chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer and chiefs Michael Delisle Jr. and Ross Montour. Marc Miller, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister, was there to hear them. It was Delisle that spoke at the meeting, elaborating on the First Nation’s concerns. He explained that although Lametti had indeed visited on several occasions, he had done nothing more than insist that meaningful engagement would occur at a later date. These later dates never arrived, Delisle declared, revealing that there perhaps never was any intention of engaging meaningfully.

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The First Nation’s biggest concern is that Bill C-218 refuses to recognize that the tribe has jurisdiction over its own gaming economy. This by extension means that a license must be applied for, essentially slotting the tribe’s economy under Ontario provincial control.

Delisle stressed that the tribe is not going to be applying for a license, pointing out that it should never have even been implied in the first place. He added that the Council has been challenging the Ontario provincial government repeatedly but has so far not received a satisfactory response.

An Experimental Market

Delisle continued simply that the world will be watching to see how the new Ontario iGaming market is handled, adding that it is now up to Miller to communicate the seriousness of the situation to Lametti.

As issues with The First Nation are reaching a boiling point, the world is indeed watching to see how Ontario’s new iGaming market progresses. Hopes are high, but some think that there may be more problems than the provincial government is anticipating. A recent report suggested that local operators will soon be pushed out of their own market, given the size and power of the new companies about to descend on the province.

It will indeed be interesting to see how Ontario handles being amongst the biggest iGaming markets in the world.