Earlier this month, the National Indian Gaming Commission finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University. The term of the MOU is for three years.

“It is my pleasure to announce the MOU between the NIGC and the Sycuan Institute,” said NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri. “NIGC seeks to collaborate on data collection, development and analysis with the Sycuan Institute, who is known for producing research that emphasizes tribal government gaming.”

A long term goal under the MOU is to create a data collection process within the NIGC that can continue to measure such topics as how NIGC approaches compliance, how tribal gaming regulation might be placed into the larger perspective of federal case law and self-determination and how to demonstrate the economic impact of tribal gaming on communities.

Chaudhuri noted the importance of data in crafting sound policy, stating, “As was discussed during the NIGC’s October commemoration of the 30th anniversary of IGRA, as well as at a recent similar commemoration at the Brookings Institute, the success of the Indian gaming industry is, at its core, a success of tribal self-determination policies in action. The last 30 years have effectively been a referendum on the merits of the self-determination principles that underpin IGRA. Just as the 1928 Meriam Report helped shape the self-determination policies of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, fully assessing the benefits of the last 30 years to tribal nations and the general public is critical in shaping policy moving forward. This MOU is a great starting point, and we are excited to work with such a well-regarded academic and non-profit institution on both assessing the impacts of the last 30 years as well as analyzing current Indian gaming-related data so that we may continue to perform our mission at NIGC as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

“This MOU represents two of the three pillars of the Sycuan Institute’s vision: to produce academic research related to tribal government gaming and to engage in public policy work related to tribal casino operations and regulation,” said Katherine Spilde, Ph.D., endowed chair of the Sycuan Institute. “The Sycuan Institute looks forward to working with the NIGC to produce new research products that highlight the unique history, purpose, framework and outcomes of tribal government-owned gaming.”

“I am happy the Commission and Sycuan Institute have entered into this collaboration. I firmly believe that data is an important part of telling the story of tribal gaming and informing our regulatory policy,” said NIGC Vice-Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause.