According to Canadaâ€™s National Post newspaper, the Federal Government is considering new measures that forbid the operation of online gaming sites based in the Mohawk tribal enclave of Kahnawake.
The Government stated that around 400 online poker, casino and sportsbetting websites operating under license from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission near Montreal are illegal and it is reviewing its thus far cautious and hands-off approach.
“Following recent concerns surrounding Internet gambling in Canada, the Minister of Justice has asked his officials to examine whether the enforcement of the Criminal Code provisions could be assisted with other measures,” said Genevieve Breton, Director of Communications for the Ministry.
The Government is also reportedly considering other measures including moves to restrict banks and credit card companies from conducting financial transactions with illegal Internet operators, a move that follows Americaâ€™s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.
This legislation caused substantial losses among a number of European-listed companies that subsequently withdrew from the US market and any such move would spark conflict between Ottawa and Canada’s First Nations.
The Mohawks of Kahnawake state that Federal laws do not apply, as they are a sovereign nation, and also cite Section 35 of the Constitution, which was inserted to protect native cultures. The Mohawks say that gaming has been central to their culture as a means of settling disputes through competition, not violence, and other native groups, such as the Alexander First Nation in Alberta, have announced plans to emulate the Kahnawake.