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Michigan at a Glance
Gaming License: Yes
Non-Gaming License: Yes
Vendor License Exemptions Available: Yes
Temporary License: Yes
Ownership Disclosure Threshold: 10 - 15% (Contact Tribe)
Institutional Investor Waiver: Contact
Tribe
Fees: $750 - $5,000
State Gaming Lab: Private
Term of License: Up to 3 Years (Contact Tribe)
Deadline to Reapply: 60 - 120 Days Prior to Expiration
(Contact Tribe)
Political Contribution Restrictions: No

Bay Mills Gaming Commission

www.baymills.org
More Bay Mills Gaming Commission Info

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Gaming Commission

www.gtbindians.org
(231) 534-7750
More Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Gaming Commission Info

Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Commission

www.gltgc.org
More Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Commission Info

Hannahville Indian Community Gaming Commission

www.hannahville.net/government/gaming-commission
More Hannahville Indian Community Gaming Commission Info

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Gaming Commission

www.ojibwa.com
More Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Gaming Commission Info

Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Gaming Commission

www.lvdtribal.com
More Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Gaming Commission Info

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Gaming Commission

www.lrboi-nsn.gov/government/executive-branch-tribal-ogema/gaming
More Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Gaming Commission Info

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Regulatory Commission

www.ltbbodawa-nsn.gov
More Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Regulatory Commission Info

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians Gaming Commission

www.nhbpi.com/sovereignty/gaming-commission
More Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians Gaming Commission Info

Pokagon Gaming Commission

www.pokagonband-nsn.gov/gaming-commission
More Pokagon Gaming Commission Info

Saginaw Chippewa Gaming Commission

www.sagchip.org/gamecom
More Saginaw Chippewa Gaming Commission Info

Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Gaming Commission

www.saulttribe.com
More Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa Gaming Commission Info

Michigan Tribal Gaming Supplier Regulatory Overview


Introduction

There are currently 12 Native American tribes located in Michigan that operate a total of 22 tribal casinos. Each tribe maintains a separate tribal gaming commission in accordance with individual compacts negotiated between the tribe and the state and in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Although each compact contains provisions regarding licensing, each tribe’s commission establishes independent rules and regulations regarding the licensing of manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of gaming and non-gaming equipment. The following is provided to give a broad overview of the manufacturer and supplier licensing requirements common with Michigan tribes.

It is important to note that the tribal rules and regulations regarding supplier licensing vary greatly from tribe to tribe, as each tribe establishes independent licensing considerations through its tribal gaming commission. Therefore, it is important for a potential supplier to gain an understanding of the specific licensing processes established by an individual tribe before seeking to conduct business with a tribe’s gaming facility.

Supplier and Vendor Licensing Requirements

Although individual compacts require that suppliers of gaming equipment must be licensed, tribal gaming commissions often establish additional licensing requirements and define specific licensing procedures.1 The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, for example, has established three categories of supplier licensure: gaming vendors, non-gaming vendors, and service vendors.2

Duration

The duration of a supplier’s license will range from a period of up to 3 years, depending on the tribe issuing the license.3

Fes

Application and initial licensing fees will vary depending on the tribe with which the supplier will conduct business. Fee schedules may also depend on the volume of business conducted during a particular period. These fees will range from $750 to $5,000, with gaming suppliers often paying a higher fee than non-gaming suppliers.

Renewal applications often must be submitted at least 60 to 120 days prior to the expiration of the current license. Renewal fees range from $750 to $1,500.4

Required Documents and Information

As with application fees, the required information and documents for completion of a supplier license application will vary by tribe. The following is a list of commonly required materials necessary to complete a supplier license application for a tribal gaming commission in Michigan.

1. Basic identification information;
2. List of all equipment or supplies that will be sold to the tribal gaming facility;
3. Details regarding the business relationship between the applicant and the tribal gaming facility;
4. Written certifications that products being offered comply with tribal or National Indian Gaming Commission technical standards;
5. A list of jurisdictions where the applicant has previously applied for or currently holds a gaming license;
6. List of personal or professional references;
7. Release forms for financial or tax documents;
8. A list of all professional or trade licenses held; and
9. Conflict of interest disclosures.5

Key Persons Licensing Requirements

Tribes may require that certain key persons related to the supplier be individually licensed before the applicant is authorized to conduct business with a tribal gaming facility. These individuals typically hold key management positions within the company, although some tribes require that individuals holding ownership interests of 10 percent or more also complete the key person licensing requirements.6

Duration

The duration of a key persons license will vary depending on the tribe, but will typically be tied to the duration of the supplier’s license issued to the corporate entity associated with the key person.

Fees

The fees associated with a personal disclosure or key person licensing application will vary depending on the tribe with which the applicant will conduct business. Some tribes include the cost of the individual licensing application with the corporate application.

Required Documents and Information

The information and documents necessary to complete a key person license application will vary with each tribal gaming commission. The following is a brief list of items that are typically required to complete a key person license application for tribes in Michigan:

1. Basic identification information;
2. Information regarding the relationship to the corporate applicant;
3. Marital history;
4. Past and present residence information;
5. Employment history;
6. Fingerprint cards;
7. Copy of Social Security card;
8. Copy of driver’s license;
9. Business ownership information;
10. Proof that the applicant is at least 18 years old; and
11. Information necessary to prove that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony or an offense relating to the honesty or integrity of the applicant.7

Licensing Process

An interested person must first contact the particular tribe that operates the tribal gaming facility with which the person intends to conduct business. The tribal gaming commission will then provide the necessary information and materials that must be completed in order to apply for a supplier’s license.

Once the necessary materials are completed and returned to the tribal gaming commission, the commission will review the necessary materials to assure that the applicant meets all necessary tribal, compact, and federal requirements for licensure. The tribe may issue a temporary license once all information is received so that the applicant can conduct business with the tribal gaming facility while the necessary background information is under review.

Once a determination on the licensing status of the applicant has been made, the applicant is typically notified in writing of the tribal gaming commission’s disposition. If the applicant is denied licensure, the tribal gaming commission may offer the applicant the opportunity for a hearing on the matter.

Disclosure and Reporting Requirements

Before License Is Issued

In general, it is the applicant’s duty to provide the tribe with the necessary information and documents to show that the applicant meets the standards and qualifications required under each tribe’s gaming rules and regulations.8

After License Is Issued

After a supplier’s license has been issued, the licensee must inform the tribal gaming commission of any circumstance that may affect the future eligibility of the licensee to receive a supplier’s license.9

Tribes may also require that certain records be maintained by the licensee and be subject to inspection by tribal gaming authorities upon request. These documents may include financial documents, correspondence with the tribal gaming commission and tribal gaming facility, publicity and promotional materials, and personnel files. These documents may be required to be kept for a specific period of time, for example, for at least the past five years.10

The tribe must be informed of any change in the employment of key persons required to be licensed. New key persons must also complete the necessary licensing review process.11

Gaming Technology Standards

Individual tribes may maintain specific standards for the operation of gaming equipment at their gaming facilities. For example, some tribes require that any new game be reviewed and approved by the tribal gaming commission prior to its use.12 Tribal gaming commissions, however, must comply with the compact negotiated between the tribe and the state, which defines the categories of games allowed at a tribal gaming facility.13

Michigan tribal compact provisions require that gaming equipment used by tribes meet the technical standards of either the State of Nevada or the State of New Jersey.14

In addition to tribal gaming commission requirements, electronic games of chance and other similar games must meet National Indian Gaming Commission standards, including the requirement that equipment be examined and approved by an independent testing laboratory in accordance with individual tribal ordinances.15

Temporary License

Tribes may issue temporary or provisional licenses under particular circumstances. Often, the person seeking a temporary license must first have submitted all of the necessary application materials to the tribal gaming commission and appear, on initial review, to meet the applicable licensing standards.16

Exemptions

Some non-gaming vendors or suppliers may be exempt from the licensure process. For example, those vendors that provide goods or services that are valued at less than $50,000 in a single year, defined as “Service Vendors,” are exempt from the licensing requirements under the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians gaming commission regulations.17 These types of lower volume vendors, however, often must notify the tribal gaming commission of their business relationship with the gaming facility and provide basic identification information.

In addition, Michigan tribes often exempt certain fields of commerce, such as medical or legal professionals, public utilities, and financial institutions, from licensing requirements.18 Some tribes also allow for reciprocity for applicants who currently hold supplier’s licenses in other tribal or state jurisdictions.19
1See A Compact Between the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the State of Michigan Providing for the Conduct of Class III Gaming by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Sec. 6(b) (Enacted December 3, 1998).
2See Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation #R400-04:GC-06.
3See Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulatory Act, Sec. 5.10.
4See Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation #R400-04: GC-06, Sec. 4.
5See Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation # 400-04: GC-06. See also Hannahville Indian Community Corporate Disclosure Form.
6See Pokagon Band of Pottawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.09.
7See Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.10. See also Bay Mills Indian Community, Personal Disclosure Form.
8See Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.03.
9See Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.12.
10See Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.16.
11See Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.11.
12 See Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation # R400-04: GC-02.
13 See A Compact Between the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the State of Michigan Providing for the Conduct of Class III Gaming by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Sec. 3 (Enacted December 3, 1998).
14See A Compact Between the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the State of Michigan Providing for the Conduct of Class III Gaming by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Sec. 6(a) (Enacted December 3, 1998).
15See 25 CFR 542, 547.
16Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation # R400-04: GC-06, Sec. 8-2.
17Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation # R400-04:GC-06, Sec. 3-4(a).
18See Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Gaming Commission Regulations, Regulation # R400-04: GC-06, Sec. 3-4(b).
19See Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Gaming Regulations, Sec. 2.14.

This article is provided by Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. For information about the services they provide please visit our information on gaming licensing and compliance advisors.