Congress authorized The National Gambling Impact Study Commission ("the Commission") on June 3, 1996 by Public Law 104-169. The Commission is subject to the standards and requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, with respect to meetings, hearings, and availability of Commission records, and other matters.

Purpose and Function

The implementing statute for the Commission establishes it as an independent commission which is not under the auspices of any executive agency, nor specifically controlled by the legislative or judicial branches of government.

The Commission must conduct a comprehensive legal and factual study of the social and economic impacts of gambling on (1) federal, state, local, and Native American tribal governments; and (2) communities and social institutions including the individuals, families, and businesses which compose them. At a minimum, the study should include the following:

    1. A review of existing government policies and practices regarding legalizing and prohibiting gambling, including the costs of such policies and practices;

    2. An assessment of the relationship between gambling and levels of crime, including existing enforcement and regulatory practices that address such relationship;

    3. An assessment of pathological or problem gambling, including its impact on individuals, families, businesses, social institutions, and the economy;

    4. An assessment of gambling's impact on individuals, families, businesses, social institutions, and the economy generally, including advertising's role in promoting gambling and gambling's impact on depressed economic areas;

    5. An assessment of the extent to which gamblingg provides revenue to State, local, and Native American tribal governments and the extent to which possible alternative revenue sources may exist for such governments; and

    6. An assessment of the interstate and international effects of electronic gambling, including the use of interactive technologies and the Internet.

The Commission must comprehensively report its findings and conclusions, together with its recommendations, if any, to the President of the United States, the United States Congress, the State Governors, and Native American tribal governments no later than two years after the date of its first meeting. The report shall include summaries of the material the Commission relied on in preparing the report including summaries of reports made by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and the National Research Council.

Structure and Meetings

The Commission consists of nine members appointed for the life of the Commission. The President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives each appoints three members to the Commission. These individuals are to consult among themselves, to the extent possible, to achieve a fair and equitable representation of the various points of view regarding those issues that the Commission will study.

Congress has authorized such sums as needed for the Commission to carry out its purposes and has to date appropriated four million dollars. Such funds are to remain available until expended.

The President, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House shall jointly designate the Commission's Chairman, who has the authority to call the initial and all subsequent meetings. Five Commissioners shall constitute a quorum to conduct official business, but the Commission may Establish a lesser quorum to conduct hearings.

The Chairman has the authority to appoint and terminate an Executive Director and other such personnel necessary for the Commission to perform its duties. The appointment and termination of the Executive Director shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the Commission's members. The Chairman also has the authority to utilize detailed government employees without reimbursement and to procure temporary and intermittent services.

The Commission shall have the power (1) to conduct hearings as it deems advisable to execute its duties; (2) to issue subpoenas to compel production of information from anywhere in the United States; (3) to issue subpoenas to compel oral or written explanations of materials obtained by subpoena; and (4) to secure information directly from any Federal department or agency.


The Commission shall terminate 60 days after the date on which it submits its report.

Dated and Filed: June 15, 1997

Kay C. James, Chairman
National Gambling Impact Study Commission