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Quebec fights Mohawk Nation over online gambling jurisdiction

GoldenPalace.com to cough up $2m

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Cyber World Group, the owner of GoldenPalace.com, in Canada this week pleaded guilty to charges of illegal gambling and agreed to a $2m fine.

GoldenPalace.com has made a name for itself through a variety of outlandish promotions, and the case is the first of its kind in Quebec.

Cyber World operated the online casino from a server on the Kahnawake reservation, which is located just outside of Montreal. About 60 per cent of the world's online gambling traffic flows through the Kahnawake servers, which reportedly possess the largest concentration of bandwidth in North America.

The Mohawk Gaming Commission has issued 443 online gambling permits so far, according to Joe Delaronde, a member of the Kahnawake band council, and the jurisdiction has gained a well-deserved reputation for probity, CBC reports.

"We don't ask for anything. We tell them that this is our right to do this. And we're doing it properly, we're administering it properly — the world seems to think that we're doing a good job, and we're confident we'll continue to do a good job. I'm not just making that up," said Delaronde. "You go to any of the publications around the world about this and Kahnawake is well-respected. Its jurisdiction is unquestioned. The only place where there is a question is in [our] backyard."

The case raises tough jurisdictional issues, since the Mohawks of Kahnawake claim the right as a sovereign nation to license online casinos under section 35 of Canada's Constitution, which guarantees traditional rights. The case, which began over a year ago with a raid on the Montreal offices of Cyber World, is a slap in the face to the Mohawk Gaming Commission, and, due to the plea deal, will unfortunately no longer provide the opportunity to clarify a gray area in Canadian law.

The provincial authorities maintain that they alone have the authority under the Criminal Code to hand out gaming licenses.®

Burke Hansen, attorney at large, heads a San Francisco law office

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