NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. STEVENS: Yes, ma'am. Good afternoon.
Madame Chairman and members of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, my name is Ernie Stevens, Jr. I'm elected council member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians in Wisconsin. I represent our chairwoman today, Deborah Doxtator. She could not be present.
The Oneida Nation is located in northeastern Wisconsin near Green Bay. We are governed by a nine-member business committee which consists of four officers and five council members. There are over 13,000 enrolled tribal members, of which nearly 5,000 live on or near our 65,000 acre reservation. In total we employ over 4,500 individuals roughly equally divided between Oneida and non-Oneida people.
We have been involved in self-managed gaming for more than 20 years for which approximately 80 percent of our work force is tied to the activities of our gaming facility.
Today I would like to share with you our thoughts about how the Commission might undertake its work and how you might contemplate gaming which occurs in Indian Country.
First, I would like to formally invite you to hold at least one of your meetings on the Oneida Reservation. We strongly believe that this Commission needs to gain a hands-on understanding of Indian gaming. You must see our community, meet our employees, and learn about our children for it is our children that are of the utmost importance in our concerns and planning our future.
Only then will you be able to understand how truly beneficial tribal governmental gaming has been and will continue to be.
I think Ms. McKeag emphasized in her testimony the difference between governmental gaming and other gaming interests.
As we understand the enabling legislation, this Commission has been charged with several responsibilities which involve the study of Indian gaming and its impact on social and economic behavior. Therefore, we would propose that the Commission focus on the following issues to help develop your mission.
Explain the legal basis for tribal sovereignty and its applications to tribal gaming.
Include a discussion of major court decisions affecting Indian gaming.
Describe the economic benefits of gaming to Indian tribes, including employment, tax revenues, infrastructure, creation of other economic opportunities, and more.
Describe the economic benefits of Indian gaming to the state and local non-Indian communities, including employment, tax revenues, infrastructure, and more.
Include the impact on adjunct businesses, such as vendors and other local businesses.
Describe the social impact of gaming on Indian tribes and the local, non-Indian communities, including welfare dependency, health care, education and training, alcohol and drug abuse, standard of living, housing, crime, real property values, compulsive gambling, and donations to charitable organizations.
Describe the regulatory oversight structure for which Indian gaming operates. Please include the statutory versus the voluntary roles of each regulatory entity.
Acknowledge that the $8 million which our nation alone expends on regulatory oversight of Class 3 operations clarifies why the amount of money spent on Class 2 and the National Indian Gaming Commission is as small as it is, and yet insures the integrity of all of our operations.
When one sees how combined with the additional regulation resulting from agreements with states through compacting --
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Stevens, I'm going to have to ask you to enter the rest of your statement into the record, and it will be made available to all of the Commissioners. Thank you very much.
MR. STEVENS: I apologize, Madame Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That's all right.
MR. STEVENS: I wasn't using my peripheral vision and utilizing the cards here.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That's all right.
MR. STEVENS: I do have a written statement. The National Congress of American Indians is on your waiting list. We're going to just submit this document for the record.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you very much.
MR. STEVENS: Thank you.