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Gaming Jurisdiction

Melissa Cote

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SUMMER 2003      v34 n01 p08  
On June 11, 2002, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Province of Saskatchewan executed the landmark twenty five year Gaming Framework Agreement. It provides a solid foundation on which the gaming industry can plan for the future and provide much needed jobs and economic prosperity to First Nations and the Saskatchewan economy.

Under Part 2 of this Agreement, FSIN and Saskatchewan agreed to work together to develop and present to the Government of Canada proposals which would recognize First Nations full jurisdiction in relation to all forms of gaming on reserves, either through amendments to the Criminal Code or new federal legislation. The work includes developing discussion papers and options for consideration, as well as a strategy for taking forward proposals to the Government of Canada.

A First Nations Gaming Jurisdiction Committee, comprised of individuals representing the FSIN, and individuals representing the Province of Saskatchewan meet regularly to discuss the work on gaming jurisdiction and presently have prepared a number of documents that will assist in making the proposals to the Government of Canada. The 2002 Gaming Framework Agreement states that FSIN and the Province of Saskatchewan are to use their best efforts to conclude the work by June 11, 2005. Equally important, is the work that the FSIN is doing internally to determine what First Nation jurisdiction over gaming in Saskatchewan will look like. This will require consultations with stakeholders, such as First Nations, Tribal Councils, other First Nation entities and institutions that are involved in gaming.

At the same time of the signing of the 2002 Gaming Framework Agreement, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) entered into a new Casino Operating Agreement and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Licensing (SIGL) entered into a new gaming regulatory agreement with Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority. The regulatory agreement is designed to build regulatory capacity for SIGL, which will better prepare it to regulate all forms of gaming functions for First Nations in the future under First Nations jurisdiction.