The Saskatchewan First Nation tribe’s Canadian online casino is ready to launch. The online enterprise, supposed to be the first privately owned internet casino in Canada, was initiated together GeoBET Gambling Network.
The move is more than likely to attract a quick response from the provincial and possibly even the federal Canadian government. Canadian authorities question the legality of the enterprise and its operation in Canada.
Bernie Shepherd, the former chief of the White Bear First Nation tribe and voice for Indian owned land-based casinos in Canada, emphasized that he had consulted gaming industry experts and lawyers. However, Shepherd claims that he had not entered into discussion with Canadian Government at any level regarding his gambling project.
Chief Shepherd commented: “I am establishing our jurisdiction. We have inherent rights – treaty rights and constitutional rights. In our minds, this is legal.” Shepherd added that it was time for Saskatchewan First Nations to secure a piece of the rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar online gambling industry.
Shepherd had been in sight of the law before his new project. He was charged with running a common gambling house and Canadian poker room
Canadian poker room in 1993. Charges against him were eventually stayed or dropped, and his trials eventually led to a gambling agreement between the White Bear First Nation tribe and the provincial government.
Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary opined that running an online gaming company “continues to be illegal according to the Canadian gambling laws
,” but added that the “Government is faced with substantial challenges in determining the appropriate course of action to be taken concerning internet gambling”.
Shepherd claims that White Bear Gaming Act has been drafted which will serve to regulate the online gambling activity of his tribe.