The Kahnawake’s Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council, Michael Ahrihrhon Delisle Jr, has openly challenged the UK’s recent decision claiming that Kahnawake and Antigua have failed to comply with their “whitelisting” criteria. The UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport is the body within Britain’s government that makes such decisions and it was only recently that they refused the territory’s application for whitelisting.
The reason that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission was required to apply for a whitelisted status in the UK is because of the UK Gambling Act of 2005. This act, which was introduced during September last year makes it so that only those online gambling sites that operate from areas which they have whitelisted may advertise freely throughout the country.
Kahnawake has not been approved for advertising within the UK and the leaders of the tribe have spoken out in protest claiming that the decision was unfair.
“Kahnawake has concerns regarding the process undertaken by the UK authority and has initiated inquiries to ascertain whether the application was afforded fair and objective consideration, which, at this point, we do not believe was the case,” said the Grand Chief.
“Given Kahnawake’s long-standing reputation as the world leader in Internet regulatory compliance and enforcement, it is disheartening to receive word that the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory’s efforts will not be afforded the same consideration that has been extended to Tasmania, which has no such history.
“Despite having been the first jurisdiction to accept and implement the world-recognized eCOGRA standard, the implementation of a mandatory continuous compliance policy, and our consistent enforcement of what may very well be the world’s most stringent due diligence program, our name has not been added to the U.K’s exclusive white list.”
The Chief has also begun to use the race card, saying that the UK’s decision regarding the status of his tribe is not in concordance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an official United Nations declaration which the UK signed in September 2007.
As support for his claim, the Chief cited article 20 of the declaration which states, “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.”
The declaration also states that, “Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.”
What the Mohawks of Kahnawake will do next is not completely certain. Some have speculated that they will seek legal advice to determine whether or not they have a legitimate argument from which to start an appeal process.
A month ago the Mohawks would have stood a much better chance at an appeal, but their most recent complaint against the UK has been brought up in the midst of a scandal that is tarnishing their image. Absolute Poker, one of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s biggest clients, was recently found to have a major cheating flaw in their system. Some of the biggest cheaters in question are actual executives of the company and instead of coming clean have been scrambling to cover up the case. Despite all of these extraordinary allegations, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission softly reprimanded them and only charged the company a $500,000 fee. Although the fine seems hefty, Absolute Poker makes that much profit every two days.
Many voices from within the poker community have voiced their suspicions over the unbelievably loose response given by the Mohawks to Absolute Poker. Whether they have collaborated with Absolute Poker executives or not is still unknown but surely such a scandal will not help their cause in the UK.