Senate Confirms E. Sequoyah Simermeyer as National Indian Gaming Commission Chair

Sequoyah Simermeyer’s legal experience and knowledge of Indian gaming empowers him to effectively oversee the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) and uphold the integrity of the commission, said Senator John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, after the Senate approved the nomination of E. Sequoyah Simermeyer as NIGC Chair.

E. Sequoyah Simermeyer (Coharie)

Simermeyer will serve a term of three years. The NIGC approved Mr. Simermeyer’s nomination on July 31, 2019, a month after the May 15 departure of Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri from the position.

A member of the North Carolina state-recognized Coharie Tribe, Simermeyer previously served as an associate commissioner for the NIGC, starting in November 2015, and subsequently as its director of self-regulation. 

Prior to joining the NIGC, Simermeyer was the deputy chief of staff to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs, where he focused on a wide range of national policy issues, including land into trust, Tribal governance and economic development. He also completed a one-year assignment with the Majority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs where he authored legislative proposals, wrote committee reports and conducted extensive briefings on legal and policy matters related to Indian Country. 

Simermeyer also served as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, first appointed during the Bush Administration in 2007. 

Simermeyer earned his Bachelor of Art degree from Dartmouth College, a Master of Study degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School, and a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School.

The National Indian Gaming Commission was created in 1988 with the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). It has jurisdiction over 512 licensed gaming establishments operated by 246 Indian Tribes in 29 States. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, Tribal gaming revenues were approximately $33.7 billion, the highest in Indian gaming history. 

The National Indian Gaming Commission currently has approximately 114 full-time employees in seven regional offices with an annual budget of $25 million in FY 2019. The NIGC budget is funded through fees paid by Tribal gaming operations and can be up to 0.080% of gross gaming revenue pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

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