[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 154 (Thursday, August 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47516-47517]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19166]



National Indian Gaming Commission

25 CFR Part 571

RIN 3141-AA49

Issuance of Investigation Completion Letters

AGENCY: National Indian Gaming Commission, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This action amends our regulations to provide for the issuance 
of an investigation completion letter if the Agency will not recommend 
the commencement of an enforcement proceeding against a respondent.

DATES: Effective Date: September 10, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Hay, National Indian Gaming 
Commission, 1441 L Street NW., Suite 9100, Washington, DC 20005. 
Telephone: 202-632-7009.


I. Background

    The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA or Act), Public Law 100-497, 
25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., was signed into law on October 17, 1988. The 
Act establishes the National Indian Gaming Commission (``Commission'') 
and sets out a comprehensive framework for the regulation of gaming on 
Indian lands. The purposes of IGRA include providing a statutory basis 
for the operation of gaming by Indian Tribes as a means of promoting 
tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal 
governments; ensuring that the Indian tribe is the primary beneficiary 
of the gaming operation; and declaring that the establishment of 
independent federal regulatory authority for gaming on Indian lands, 
the establishment of federal standards for gaming on Indian lands, and 
the establishment of a National Indian Gaming Commission are necessary 
to meet congressional concerns regarding gaming and to protect such 
gaming as a means of generating tribal revenue. 25 U.S.C. 2702.

II. Previous Rulemaking Activity

    On November 18, 2010, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) 
issued a Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Consultation advising the 
public that the NIGC was conducting a comprehensive review of its 
regulations and requesting public comment on which of its regulations 
were most in need of revision, in what order the Commission should 
review its regulations, and the process NIGC should utilize to make 
revisions. 75 FR 70680 (Nov. 18, 2010). On April 4, 2011, after holding 
eight consultations and reviewing all comments, NIGC published a Notice 
of Regulatory Review Schedule setting out a consultation schedule and 
process for review. 76 FR 18457. The Commission's regulatory review 
process established a tribal consultation schedule with a description 
of the regulation groups to be covered at each consultation. This part 
571 was included in the regulatory review.
    As part of its review of part 571, the Commission consulted with 
tribes and tribal leaders or their representatives in every region of 
the country. Further, on June 28, 2011, the Commission issued a 
preliminary draft of amendments to Part 571 and requested public 
    The Notice of Regulatory Review Schedule announced the Commission's 
intent to review whether part 571 needed revision to clarify the NIGC's 
authority to access records located off-site, including at sites 
maintained and owned by third-parties. Comments received by the 
Commission in response to the Notice of Inquiry expressed the view that 
NIGC already possessed that authority, that it was clear and that it

[[Page 47517]]

did not need to be further clarified through regulation. The Commission 
agreed that further clarification was unnecessary and did not propose 
changes to that section.
    Throughout the review process of this part, the Commission received 
comments that the regulations should include a process for notifying a 
tribe that an investigation has been concluded. Tribal representatives 
explained that in some instances they were never notified of the 
results of investigations opened by the NIGC years ago. The discussion 
draft attempted to formalize NIGC's informal process of advising a 
tribe, through NIGC's authorized representative, after an investigation 
was terminated. All comments received on the discussion draft were 
supportive of the concept. However, several comments indicated that 
such a letter should be mandatory and not discretionary. The Commission 
believes it is important to provide the Chair with the discretion to 
make those determinations on a case-by-case basis. The final rule 
retains that discretion.
    After considering the comments received from the public and through 
tribal consultation, the Commission published a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking on October 12, 2011. The comment period closed on December 
12, 2011.
    After considering the comments received from the public and through 
tribal consultation, the Commission published a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking on October 12, 2011. The comment period closed on December 
12, 2011.

III. Review of Public Comments

    In response to our Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published October 
11, 2011, 76 FR 63237, we received the following comments.
    Comment: Numerous comments support the issuance of an investigation 
closure letter. Many comments stated the importance of providing some 
indication when an investigation has been completed and that an 
enforcement action is no longer active.
    Response: The Commission agrees that in some circumstances such a 
letter may be appropriate.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the issuance of investigation 
closure letters be mandatory instead of voluntary.
    Response: The Commission believes that the Chair should retain 
discretion in conducting investigations and when staff may indicate 
that a matter is closed. Therefore, the Commission believes these 
letters should not be mandatory.

IV. Regulatory Matters

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. Indian tribes are not considered 
to be small entities for the purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility 

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule does not have 
an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. This rule will 
not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual 
industries, federal, state or local government agencies or geographic 
regions and does not have a significant adverse effect on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S. based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandate Reform Act

    The Commission, as an independent regulatory agency within the 
Department of the Interior, is exempt from compliance with the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act. 2 U.S.C. 1502(1); 2 U.S.C. 658(1).


    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the Commission has 
determined that this rule does not have significant takings 
implications. A takings implication assessment is not required.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of General 
Counsel has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Executive Order.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Commission has determined that this rule does not constitute a 
major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment and that no detailed statement is required pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not require information collection under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq., and is 
therefore not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget.

List of Subjects in 25 CFR Part 571

    Gambling, Indian--lands, Indian--tribal government, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    Accordingly, for the reasons discussed in the preamble, the 
Commission amends 25 CFR part 571 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.

2. Add new Sec.  571.4 to subpart A to read as follows:

Sec.  571.4  Investigation completion letter.

    In instances where NIGC has concluded its investigation of a 
particular matter and will not recommend the commencement of an 
enforcement proceeding against a respondent at that time, the 
Commission's authorized representative, in his or her discretion, may 
advise the party by letter that the investigation has been completed. 
An investigation completion letter does not constitute a finding that 
no violation of IGRA, NIGC regulations, or a tribe's approved gaming 
ordinance occurred. Further, an investigation completion letter does 
not preclude the reopening of an investigation or the initiation of an 
enforcement action by the Chair.

    Dated: July 31, 2012, Washington, DC.
Tracie L. Stevens,
Steffani A. Cochran,
Daniel J. Little,
Associate Commissioner.
[FR Doc. 2012-19166 Filed 8-8-12; 8:45 am]