Officials Host First Ever Training Academy for Arizona Tribal Gaming Agents

PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – Officials from various federal, tribal and state agencies are hosting the inaugural training academy for new tribal gaming agents this week at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino in Payson, Ariz. The first of its kind in the United States, the Arizona Tribal Gaming Regulators Alliance Training Academy provides new tribal gaming agents and regulators a better understanding of casino operations and the multiple expectations of their job.

Fifteen Arizona tribes operate 22 casinos in Arizona and generated $1.94 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2007. Since the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compact went into effect in 2003, tribes have contributed more than $430 million to state and local governments. This provides funding for education, trauma care, wildlife conservation, tourism promotion and many other programs throughout Arizona.

Forty-five gaming agents and representatives from 13 tribal gaming offices are attending this week’s training. Those who successfully complete the academy, held September 8-12, 2008, and pass the final exam will be awarded certificates of completion.

The instruction and curriculum are coordinated by the Arizona Tribal Gaming Regulators Alliance, the Arizona Department of Gaming and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Arizona is the only federal district in the U.S. with a dedicated Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecutes casino related crimes and who also works closely with state and tribal gaming regulators to provide unique and useful training opportunities. Organizers hope to provide this type of training every six months for new gaming agents.

“This academy is designed to provide agents with the tools they’ll need to protect the integrity of a $2 billion a year industry,” stated U.S. Attorney Diane J. Humetewa. “We hope the cooperative approach we’ve implemented with tribal and state gaming regulators and our office can serve as a model for other jurisdictions.”

The Academy curriculum includes Introduction to Gaming; the Arizona Gaming Compact; Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; Tribal Sovereignty; Problem Gambling; Self-Exclusion Program; Gaming Law (prosecution, criminal, arrest, and detention); Introduction to Casino Operations; Licensing Process; Auditing, Inspection and Compliance; Ethics; Professionalism; Code of Conduct; Sexual Harassment; Cheats and Scams; Investigations and Interviewing; Report Writing; Introduction to Table Games; Slot Operations; Surveillance and Minimum Internal Control Standards.

“The Arizona Tribal Gaming Regulators Alliance (ATGRA) Five Day Training Academy that began this week at Tonto Apache in Payson was designed to provide Tribal Gaming Regulators basic gaming regulatory skills to inspect, audit and investigate gaming activities on the casino floor,” said Courtney Moyah, president of ATGRA. “These regulatory skills will enhance the protection of Tribal assets, preserve the integrity of gaming services to the public, and insure that unsuitable persons are kept out of the gaming activities. The Training Academy will also provide Tribal regulators a broad background and perspective of the history of Indian gaming law and related gaming regulations at the federal and state level.”

“ATGRA gives recognition and appreciation to our Arizona Tribal leaders and the Arizona Indian Gaming Association in their endeavor to improve and standardize the management of gaming regulation,” added Moyah. “ATGRA also recognizes the professional training services offered by our member Tribes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the National Indian Gaming Commission, and the Arizona Department of Gaming.”

“This innovative Arizona training model—which involves a partnership and sharing of expertise between tribal, state and federal authorities—is unique to Arizona,” said Paul A. Bullis, Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming. “We believe this is the first training academy of its kind in the nation.”

This training may also serve as a deterrent to employee theft. Adam Thomas Vega, 30, of Tucson, Ariz., was charged on September 3, 2008 in an 18-count indictment for allegedly stealing over $664,000 from one of the Desert Diamond Casinos in Tucson. While employed as a slot floor person at the casino, Vega allegedly created 585 fraudulent jackpot override tickets and submitted the jackpot tickets to the casino cage cashier in exchange for cash.

RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-228(Tribal Gaming Academy)

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