The tribal gaming regulator has said that has flagged what it considers to be multiple offenses committed by the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma dating back to 2013 and that have to do with the annual audits of gaming operations and the Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
The infringements flagged by the regulator, are serious and they criticize the lack of timely and compliant financial statements by the company. The two properties that are tied to the infringements are the Golden Eagle Casino and the Silver Buffalo Casino, a now-closed property.
Apache Tribe in Hot Water with NIGC
NIGC outlined specific breaches had to do with three areas, including the submission of annual audits, the hiring of an independent CPA to conduct independent audits of each casino for each fiscal year, and independent audit and financial statements sent to the regulator within 120 days of the end of a property’s fiscal year.
According to the regulator, which went back and looked all the way back to 2013, some of the audits had been carried out by an unlicensed CPA and were therefore unacceptable. The situation was further outlined by an official press release with a statement from NIGC chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer:
NIGC’s technical assistance provided to the Tribe over the past several years to correct these violations and to improve its internal controls and record keeping has not resulted in voluntary compliance. Submitting timely and accurate annual independent audit reports and AUPs is critical to NIGC’s mission to protect the integrity of Indian gaming, and we do not take this enforcement action lightly.
NIGC chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer
Massive Fines Are Possible But Not Very Likely
AUPs refer to agreed-upon procedures, or in this case, the obligations that tribal operators and their properties have towards the regulator. NIGC has noted that a normal course of action would be to issue a fine to a property of $57,527 per day for each day of missing reports and audits.
The tribe now has 15 days to respond to the regulator. The regulator logged the case on April 19, which is the date from when the grace period is counted. It’s unlikely however that NIGC will particularly seek to enforce a stiff penalty on the tribe’s properties, and rather seek a course to remedy the records.