Gaming Commission - Regulatory Framework | San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
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Gaming Commission

Regulatory Framework


In 1987, the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in favor of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, (California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987), recognized the Tribal government’s sovereign right to regulate gaming on their reservations. The United States Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) the following year in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. IGRA classifies the various forms of gaming into different classes and establishes regulatory jurisdiction for each class.

Tribal government creates a regulatory structure for all gaming on its reservation, with additional oversight from the Federal Agency (National Indian Gaming Commission) for Class II or State Gaming Agencies (Bureau of Gambling Control and California Gambling Control Commission) for Class III which requires a compact between both Tribal and State governments. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (tribe) enacted the San Manuel Gaming Act of 1989 (Gaming Act) creating the regulatory structure for gaming and establishing the San Manuel Tribal Gaming Commission (SMTGC) to be the Tribe’s regulatory agency for gaming.

Regulatory Framework

Key Regulatory Events in Tribal Gaming

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California v. Cabazon

US Supreme Court ruling allowing gambling for tribes


Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)

Congressional Act establishing regulatory structurefor Tribal Gaming and creating the NIGC


San Manuel Gaming Act

Tribe’s gaming ordinance required by IGRA


Prop 5

Ballot initiative – Class III Gaming Compact – Changed based on CA Constitution


Agreement between State and Tribe allowing Class III gaming

Ballot initiative – Class III Gaming Compact – Changed based on CA Constitution

25 CFR 542 Minimum Internal Control Standards (MICS)

NIGC establishes Federal Gaming Regulation


Prop 1A

Ballot initiative that amends the CA Constitution to allow Class III Gaming Compact


Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) v. NIGC

Court ruled that the NIGC lacked authority over Class III gaming


CGCC-9 Tribal Class III MICS & Oversight

In response to CRIT, California creates an intermediary regulatory structure for Class III oversight

25 CFR 543 Class II MICS & 25 CFR 547 Class II Technical Standards

After the CRIT decision, NIGC creates Class II only MICS & technical standards for Class II gaming systems


25 CFR 542 Class III MICS issued as guidance

Lacking the authority to regulate Class III, the MICS becomes a guidance document that, based on the compact, may be required

San Manuel Tribal Gaming Commission


Our Tribe has empowered San Manuel Tribal Gaming Commission (SMTGC), through the Gaming Act, to be the primary regulator protecting game integrity, ensuring compliance, and guarding the reputation of the Tribe’s gaming operation. As the primary gaming regulator, the SMTGC is responsible for promulgating regulations, preventing wrongdoing, licensing individuals to prevent bad actors from corrupting the industry, monitoring through surveillance, and protecting game integrity. Some of the wide-ranging duties of the SMTGC include catching game cheats, citing policy violations, permitting construction in accordance with building codes, enforcing health and safety standards, resolving disputes, and testing gaming technology.