The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is considered to be one of the most reputable gaming jurisdictions for licensing and regulating internet casinos and internet poker rooms. It operates from the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake. Mohawk is an Indian reservation approximately 10 kilometers from Montreal in Canada. Interestingly it’s the only internet gaming jurisdiction located in North America. When internet gambling first made its inception in 1996 the Kahnawake Gaming Commission made its first appearance. Today it has more than 167 licensees.
Internet Casinos are offered numerous advantages by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The location in itself is environmentally stable devoid of hurricanes and floods; therefore affording them stable operations in the long run. Since its location is in Canada, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission presents internet gambling operators with all the advantages a first-world country has to offer, such as almost unlimited bandwidth. On the flip side for Kahnawake is its ongoing legal dispute with the government of Canada.
Unfortunately the Canadian government sees internet gambling as illegal. However, the native tribe that controls the Kahnawake region has not been deterred by this and simply stated that the Canadian constitution gives them the rights to manage their lands as they deem fit, meaning that the running of internet gambling operations are legal. The Canadian government does not share their sentiment. According to the government the constitution grants the tribes the rights to carry out activities that form part of their original culture and gambling is not one of them. To date the Canadian government has turned a “blind eye” regarding this issue.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission comprises of three members appointed by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. These members have the authority to license and regulate internet gambling under its jurisdiction. Internet casinos must pay the Kahnawake Gaming Commission a nonrefundable application fee of CAD$25,000. Once licensed, internet gambling operators must pay a yearly fee of CAD$10,000. For every key person within the internet casino a Key Person License Application fee of Five Thousand (US$5,000.00) U.S Dollars must be paid. The licensees are allowed to display the Kahnawake logo on their websites. This logo is instrumental in driving traffic to a licensee’s website and gives players peace of mind that the licensee is safe to wager at. The commission also investigates complaints against the licensees from players.
Internet gambling operators must comply with stringent criteria before a license is granted by the commission. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission evaluates three basic parameters: the licensee’s track record, software reliability and if the licensee is financially capable to pay player winnings. To ensure that the mentioned objectives are met an independent third party is used to check the authenticity of the applicant, the software used is frequently audited for fairness and the applicant’s is financially sound.
In February 2010, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission confirmed that eCOGRA (E-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) will ensure that Kahnawake’s licensees are screened for compliance with regulations and will also conduct regular spot checks on the Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s licensees.