Are both state and tribal licenses required to sell goods to a tribal casino?

Q: I have applied for a casino supplier's license in connection with the sale of goods to a tribal casino. I completed the tribe’s licensing application, but now the tribal gaming commission says that I also need a second license from the state. Is this true?

A: While it is standard practice for a tribal gaming commission to license companies or individuals that supply goods or services to its casino properties, many state and local governments may also have negotiated an oversight role for these suppliers in addition to the tribe's licensing process. Therefore, a company may need two supplier licenses – one issued by the tribe and one issued by the state – before providing goods or services to a tribal property. This regulatory model is used in Arizona, Wisconsin, Washington and other jurisdictions.

Class III (casino-style) tribal gaming is governed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal law which authorizes Native American tribes to negotiate gaming compacts with state governments which detail gaming regulatory requirements. While tribes may negotiate to independently license gaming and nongaming suppliers, the tribe and the state may decide to afford the state a level of oversight into the licensing process. This oversight may range from the tribe merely providing the names of licensed entities to the state fully reviewing, analyzing and approving a supplier license on a parallel track with the tribal gaming authorities.

Therefore, it is important during the initial jurisdictional review period to confirm if the tribe, the state, or a combination of both will require a licensing determination. This initial research into the jurisdiction will assist with the preparation of licensing applications, including the timing of filings and the identification of individuals within an organization that will be required to file.

Gaming industry advisor Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. authored this article. Visit the Gaming Advisors section of this website to find out more about gaming licensing and compliance advisors.