NIGC Defines Key Employees, Primary Management Officials in Federal Register

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has published the Definitions; Background Investigation for Primary Management Officials and Key Employees; Gaming Licenses for Primary Management Officials and Key Employees final rule in the Federal Register Aug. 15, 2023. The final rule became effective as of Sept. 14, 2023.

NIGC began the rulemaking process in July 2021, issuing a consultation proposal for regulatory changes.

Specifically, the commission sought to:

  • Address the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s concern that certain aspects of the “key employee” and “primary management official” definitions were too broad
  • Clarify key employees and primary management officials are such because of their duties, functions, or responsibilities, even if they work for an entity other than the gaming operation
  • Allow tribes the option of designating Tribal Gaming Regulatory Authorities (TGRAs), security personnel, IT personnel and other employees of the gaming enterprise as key employees or primary management officials
  • Add General Managers to the primary management official definition
  • Simplify licensing information retention requirements

After two consultations and closely considering comments received, this final rule permits tribes to designate other gaming enterprise employees as key employees and other employed gaming enterprise management officials as primary management officials, including TGRA personnel. Further, the key employee definition no longer sets forth a wage threshold but includes in the definition a gaming operation’s four most highly compensated persons. The final rule also strikes the terms “independent” and “governmental” from the TGRA definition, aligning it with the corresponding definition in NIGC regulations, part 547. Lastly, license revocation decisions only require tribes to notify the NIGC of the revocation and provide a copy of the decision. 

These changes are part of a commitment from the agency to the tribal gaming community to ensure regulatory requirements are clear, conform to NIGC and industry best practices, and align with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). This is one of eight rule changes resulting from the 2021 consultation series.

Individuals or organizations wishing to learn more about the changes can register here for a virtual training session, held Sept. 28 by the NIGC.