Last week, Senator Scott Tannas called for the respect of First Nations rights by introducing Bill S-268 in the Canadian Senate. If passed as law, the legislation would amend the Indian Act and Section 207 of the Criminal Code, allowing First Nation the exclusive authority to license, conduct and manage gaming activities on its territories.
In addition to the First Nation’s bill, the Senate also heard a proposal to regulate the volume of sports betting advertisements in Canada via Bill S-269. It was introduced by Senator Marty Deacon and arrived amid concerns from gambling experts and parents who claimed that the influx of ads during sports games could be bad for children and people in vulnerable states.
- Positive Step Forward
In a speech on Parliament Hill last week, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron emphasized the importance of the bill and said it was a step in the right direction. He explained the legislation would enhance and bolster First Nation’s quality of life and would secure First Gaming jurisdiction for gaming on reserves for each chief and council and community.
Sen. Tannas also supported his stance and believes the bill provides security and ownership for First Nations. He commented that in an era of recognizing the rights of indigenous governments, the sovereignty that they gave. He also said the country was in a stage of economic and spiritual reconciliation. Mr. Tannas said the bill asserts that indigenous governments have sovereignty over their own lands.
In addition to that, the Senator commented that currently, indigenous gaming establishments see their provinces rake a significant amount of the funds into their general revenues. Lastly, in his statement, he added that the federal government expects that provinces will have something to say on the proposed bill and that it will have a cost.
Reginald Bellerose, the former Chief of Muskowekwan First Nation and the current chair of the board for the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority expressed his approval of the bill, stating that it was an important day. He mentioned that they believed First Nations were the best casino operators in the country and that the bill would enable the creation of more jobs and generate additional revenue for First Nations.
-Ontario First Nation Frustrated with New Casino
In the meantime, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation argued that its exclusivity in Ontario has been violated by the launch of the new Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto. The First Nation believes that it was unfairly treated by the local government as it claimed that the launch of the new casino could negatively impact its operations and even threaten its very existence.
The tribe also weighed in on the topic of the plethora of betting ads in the country. Chief of the Nation, Kelly LaRocca described these betting ads as intrusive and irresponsible. The tribe has sent an open letter to Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, who have promoted betting products. She is hopeful that the hockey stars would step down from advertising iGaming as many young children idolize them.
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