First Nation groups in British Columbia are taking a cue from the Kahnawake natives in Quebec. By opening their own regulatory body in the province, their goal is to reclaim some of the gambling market share, which is currently dominated by British Columbia’s government.
Over $1 billion was earned by the BC government last year, the Globe and Mail reports. However, the province failed to follow the example set by all seven other provinces, which allocated a share of the profits for their native communities. Instead, British Columbia did not offer any specific share of its revenues to natives in the province.
This has been the case for the past four years, and First Nation leaders have spent this time trying to forge an agreement with B.C. lawmakers that would grant them a portion of gambling revenues. The money would be spent aboriginal infrastructure and business development, in addition to being spent on housing shortages and unemployment services.
Unfortunately, British Columbia’s government did not comply, so the First Nation leaders are taking it upon themselves to set up their own gaming commission to tackle these issues.
The initiative has been met with some resistance by British Columbian politicians. George Abbott, head of Aboriginal Relations, has stated that he is willing to continue negotiating a deal with the First Nations groups, although he also believes that gaming revenues should be spent to benefit all British Columbians at large.
The new regulatory body will set out to redefine First Nations gaming operations, rules which are set to be in place by November 2010.