Internet Gambling and the Kahnawà:ke First Nation

Authored by: Robert J. Williams , Robert T. Wood , Jonathan Parke

Routledge International Handbook of Internet Gambling

Print publication date:  June  2012
Online publication date:  November  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415594431
eBook ISBN: 9780203814574
Adobe ISBN:


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In June 1996, the kahnawà:ke Mohawk community south of Montreal established the kahnawà:ke Gaming Commission (kGC) pursuant to the provisions of their kahnawà:ke Gaming Law. The legislation dictates that kahnawà:ke is a sovereign nation and, as such, has jurisdiction over issuing gaming licenses for lottery schemes, including online gambling sites. By January 1999, Mohawk Internet Technologies (MIT) was established as an e-gaming website to host online gambling sites on servers located on kahnawà:ke land. embroiled from the start in a debate regarding its operational legality, attention has in recent years shifted to the kGC’s inability to provide the regulatory oversight it proudly proclaimed as its distinguishing feature. At one time the host of the largest number of international online gambling sites, kahnawà:ke in 2011 was hosting roughly half that number, and had been the focus of two uncomplimentary reports resulting from a joint 60 Minutes–Washington Post investigation into online cheating. Loto-Quebec’s recent entry into the world of online gambling has also complicated matters, by directly pitting provincial economic interests with kahnawà:ke’s. The following chapter details these and other events that have come to embody kahnawà:ke’s rise from impoverished First Nation, clinging to historic claims of self-determination, to a leader in the ever-changing and increasingly competitive world of online gaming, that now demands both the kGC and MIT rehabilitate a sullied reputation. The first step is to elaborate the jurisdictional and legal setting from which the kahnawà:ke online operations emerged.

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