The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) has released a statement expressing concerns about a report on the legality of online gambling in Canada.
The Working Group on Online Gambling, a Quebec government-appointed body, published its report on 6 November, which recommended an amendment of the Criminal Code of Canada to allow the authorisation of online gambling licenses to private operators.
Online gambling is legal in Canada, but courts have explicitly rejected First Nations (aboriginals) from conducting gaming activities, despite the fact that the MCK allows licenses to gaming businesses.
The Working Group, which was set up by Quebec after the launch of Loto-Quebec’s online gambling site Espacejeux, titled the report: “Online Gambling: When the Reality of the Virtual Catches Up with Us”.
MCK is willing to cooperate with Quebec, but will not officially change its stance until the First Nation’s demands are recognised federally.
Grand chief Michael Ahrihron Delisle Jr. said: “When the Criminal Code was amended in 1985 to delegate authority over gaming from the federal government to the provinces, First Nations were not consulted and our inherent rights to participate in the gaming industry were ignored.
“This was a clear breach of the Crown’s fiduciary duty to Aboriginal Peoples and it has never been addressed.
“Given the findings in the Working Group’s report, the MCK reiterates its willingness to establish a table with Québec to resolve outstanding jurisdictional differences and work together to create a safe, fair and equitable gaming environment for all.”