Kansas State Gaming Agency

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General Overview of the Agency

The State Gaming Agency was established by executive order in August of 1995 to fulfill the State of Kansas' obligations under the tribal-state gaming compacts. These compacts were approved by the 1995 Kansas Legislature. The Tribal Gaming Oversight Act adopted by the 1996 Kansas Legislature officially established the State Gaming Agency and attaches the agency to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission for limited budget and personnel purposes. The mission of the State Gaming Agency is to uphold the integrity of Indian gaming operations in Kansas through the tribal-state compacts and the Tribal Gaming Oversight Act. 

The Tribal Gaming Oversight Act establishes an executive director as head of the agency. The executive director is appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate. At the present time the State Gaming Agency consists of twenty-one (21) full-time employee positions. The State Gaming Agency is funded through an assessment procedure set forth in the Tribal-State Compacts. Each of the Tribes operating a gaming facility in the State of Kansas is required to pay the reasonable and necessary costs of regulating done by the Kansas State Gaming Agency.

History of Indian Gaming

In 1988, the United States Supreme Court ruled the State of California did not have jurisdiction to prohibit Class III, casino gaming on Indian reservations. This decision held that the gaming issue was civil rather than criminal. This prohibited the State of California from attempting to restrict Indian gaming under the State criminal codes.

Following this decision, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). IGRA took effect in 1988 and delineated the rights of States and Native American tribes relative to the issue of casino gaming. Pursuant to IGRA, States can limit Native American Indian casinos to the type of gaming authorized by the State. Additionally, the tribes must negotiate a compact with the State regarding the scope of authorized gaming and the State's role in Indian gaming. IGRA also set guidelines governing the types of compacts which could be negotiated.

IGRA authorizes the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to oversee certain aspects of Indian Gaming. NIGC has established guidelines for background investigations on employees and companies doing business with the Indian Gaming facility.

IGRA also sets minimum requirements regarding what land can be used for Class III gaming and at what locations said gaming can occur. Additionally, IGRA required the States to negotiate compacts in good faith. IGRA authorizes a federal lawsuit to force a State to negotiate a compact. (Since approval of the Kansas tribal compacts, the United States Supreme Court has determined that a State cannot be sued in federal court to force compact negotiations.)

Following the creation of IGRA, the four Native American tribes in Kansas began negotiating with the State of Kansas for an approved compact. Governor Finney signed the first compact. Attorney General Bob Stephan filed a lawsuit against Governor Finney asserting she did not have the authority to enter a compact on behalf of the State of Kansas without the Legislature's approval. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General.

After the Supreme Court's decision the four Native American tribes again began the process of negotiating compacts with the State of Kansas. During the 1995 legislative session a compact for each of the four tribes was approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Graves.

After the Governor signed the compacts, they were forwarded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for federal approval. By October of 1995, all four compacts had been approved by the BIA.

The first Native American Indian casino opened on May 18, 1996 on the Kickapoo Reservation 6 miles west of Horton. It is called the Golden Eagle Casino. On October 25, 1996 the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe opened its temporary casino on its reservation, just south of Mayetta, Kansas. The Potawatomi opened a new casino and hotel on January 13, 1998. It is located a few miles farther south of Mayetta, Kansas, just off of Highway 75, 20 minutes north of Topeka. This replaced their temporary casino. The Sac & Fox Tribe opened their casino on February 26, 1997 on Highway 75 north of Topeka in Brown County, Kansas. The Iowa Tribe opened a temporary gaming facility on May 20, 1998. On December 15, 1998, their permanent casino, Casino White Cloud, was opened 3 1/2miles N of White Cloud. This also replaced their temporary casino.