|At last week’s Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo in Montreal, Kahnawake grand chief Joseph Norton had more reason to smile than most. Norton is chairman of Mohawk Internet Technologies, which hosts about 60 Online gaming companies on its servers.|
MIT is owned by the band council of the South Shore reserve. The company employs 100 workers, and indirectly provides employment for another 200. MIT’s revenues for last year was $4 million (US$ 2.9million).
Add to that another $500,000 (US$366,000) from online gambling licensing fees - Kahnawake is the only North American jurisdiction issuing online casino licenses, notably for customers of software firms such as Microgaming.
MIT has had it’s run-ins with the Quebec authorities, and its launch in 1999 was no exception.
The provincial government said only it could legislate for Internet casinos operating in Quebec, leading to an investigation from the Provincial police into MIT. However, no action was taken.
By August, MIT plans to begin work on expanding its 12,000-square-foot facility to twice its current size.
Norton defends his tribes’ entry into online gambling: 'We have an aboriginal right to an economy and it doesn't have to be hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering,' Norton said.
'We can't do that for a living any more where we live. We don't have any more natural resources. The only thing we can do is to get into mainstream economic development.'