National Indian Gaming Commission

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Indian Gaming Commission
Seal of the National Indian Gaming Commission
Agency overview
FormedOctober 18, 1988; 35 years ago (1988-10-18)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Employees102 (2013)
Annual budget>US$18 million (2013)
Agency executives

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC; /nɪɡˈs/) is a United States federal regulatory agency within the Department of the Interior. Congress established the agency pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988.[1]

The commission is the only federal agency focused solely on the regulation of gambling, though it has many counterpart state and tribal regulatory agencies. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior also have responsibilities related to gaming and Indian gaming, respectively.

The commission is an independent regulatory agency, but works closely with the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior on matters of game classification and Indian lands questions.[2] In addition, it is represented in litigation in court by the Department of Justice. Thus, its independence has some practical limits related to cooperation with Executive Branch agencies.


The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted to support and promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency and strong tribal governments through the operation of gaming on Indian lands. The act provides a regulatory framework to shield Indian gaming from corruption, and to ensure that the games offered are fair and honest and that tribes are the primary beneficiaries of gaming operations. The act created the commission to protect tribal gaming as a means of generating revenue for tribal communities. IGRA placed the commission within the Department of the Interior (DOI), but also provided it with independent federal regulatory authority. The commission monitors tribal gaming activity, inspects gaming premises, conducts background investigations and audits of Class II gaming operations (and Class III gaming operations, upon request or as provided by applicable law, such as tribal gaming ordinances and tribal-state compacts). The commission also provides technical assistance and training to tribal gaming commissions and operations and, when appropriate, undertakes enforcement actions.

Because the National Indian Gaming Commission is subject to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, they submitted in 2022 a strategic plan to Congress, which covers the fiscal years 2022 to 2026. NIGC's annual report is available here.


The commission comprises a chair and two commissioners, each of whom serves on a full-time basis for a three-year term. The chair is appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. The Secretary of the Interior appoints the other two commissioners. Under the act, at least two of the three commissioners must be enrolled members of a federally recognized Indian tribe, and no more than two members may be of the same political party. The commission also has a general counsel, who supervises the legal staff and advises the commission on its work. The current acting general counsel is Rea Cisneros.[3]

The commission fulfills its responsibilities under IGRA by:

  • regulating and monitoring certain aspects of Indian gaming;
  • coordinating its regulatory responsibilities with tribal regulatory agencies through the review and approval of tribal gaming ordinances and management agreements;
  • reviewing the backgrounds of individuals and entities to ensure the suitability of those seeking to manage Indian gaming;
  • overseeing and reviewing the conduct and regulation of Indian gaming operations;
  • referring law enforcement matters to appropriate tribal, federal and state entities; and
  • when necessary, undertaking enforcement actions for violations of IGRA, NIGC's regulations and tribal gaming ordinances, including imposing appropriate sanctions for such violations.
NIGC regional offices

The commission provides federal oversight to more than 510 tribally owned, operated or licensed gaming establishments operating in 29 states. The commission maintains its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and has eight regional offices located in Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; Phoenix, Arizona; St. Paul, Minnesota; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Rapid City, South Dakota; and Washington, D.C.

The commission established its regional offices to improve the level and quality of services it provides to tribes, and to enhance its ability to communicate, collaborate and interact with tribes located within each office's geographic region. These offices are vital to carrying out the statutory responsibilities of the commission. By having auditors and compliance officers close to tribal gaming facilities, the commission seeks to facilitate compliance with the act and better relationships with tribal leaders, officials and regulatory personnel. In addition to auditing and investigative activities, the field staff provides technical assistance and training to promote a better understanding of gaming controls within the regulated industry, and to enhance cooperation and compliance to ensure the integrity of gaming operations.

NIGC organizational chart

Past commissioners[edit]

Commission chairs[4] Tenure
Anthony J. Hope January 1990–October 1994
Harold Monteau October 1994–January 1997
Ada Deer (Acting) January 1997–May 1997
Tadd Johnson (Acting) September 1997–October 1998
Montie Deer November 1998–September 2002
Philip N. Hogen December 2002–October 2009
George Skibine (Acting) October 2009–June 2010
Tracie Stevens June 2010–August 2013
Jonodev O. Chaudhuri October 2013–May 2019
E. Sequoyah Simermeyer November 2019–February 2024
Commissioners tenure
Joel M. Frank November 1990 to November 1993
Jana M. McKeag April 1991 to December 1995
Lacy Thornburg August 1994 to March 1995
Tom Foley September 1995 to March 1998
Phil Hogen December 1995 to June 1999
Elizabeth Lohah Homer July 1999 to July 2002
Teresa E. Poust June 1999 to December 2002
Nelson W. Westrin December 2002 to December 2005
Cloyce V. Choney December 2002 to December 2007
Norman H. DesRosiers January 2007 to January 2010
Steffani A. Cochran January 2010 to January 2013
Daniel J. Little April 2010 to June 2015
Kathryn Isom-Clause March 2016 to July 2021
Jeannie Hovland January 2021 to present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Casino Gaming Regulation: Roles of Five States and the National Indian Gaming Commission" (PDF). 15 May 1998. OCLC 39350646.
  2. ^ Washburn, Kevin K. (4 July 2009). "Agency Culture and Conflict: Federal Implementation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act by the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Justice".
  3. ^ "Acting General Counsel Rea Cisneros" (PDF). National Indian Gaming Commission. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  4. ^ "Past Commissioners". National Indian Gaming Commission. Retrieved 15 February 2021.

External links[edit]