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New tribal financial manager certificate program for gaming enterprises

Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise employees
September 16, 2013

Gaming enterprises are vital businesses for many Tribal Nations today, yet casino operations are complex with employees and managers accountable to tribal, state and federal auditors and regulators. Because of the multiple levels of oversight, gaming is one of the most highly regulated industries.

The American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University is offering a new concentration in its Tribal Financial Manager Certificate program designed for tribal gaming enterprises. The first session offered to tribal gaming staff nationwide will take place at the ASU Tempe campus from Oct. 22-24.

“Gaming provides really important revenue for the operations of many tribal governments. These operations are the driving economic engines of many tribes these days,” said Eddie F. Brown, American Indian Policy Institute executive director. “Employees are the first line in protecting the financial integrity of tribal gaming enterprises, and as a result, of tribal sovereignty.”

This innovative program was put in place at the request of Navajo Nation gaming enterprise officials who requested a comprehensive training program that would cover the rules and regulations governing financial management at tribal gaming operations.  

“They wanted to make sure that their staff had all the skills and training possible,” Brown said. “They have a lot of procedures and internal controls that need to be in place to comply with all the audit requirements.”

A gaming session held for Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise casino employees last year earned rave reviews from participants who cited the comprehensive nature of the curriculum that addresses tribal gaming overall, with explanations of specific regulations and the rationale behind the rules.

“It helps them run their operations more efficiently and prepare for audits,” Brown said.

Developed as a partnership with the Native American Finance Officers Association, the new program teaches gaming financial management personnel, as well as Enterprise and Tribal Gaming Commission board members, information such as how to properly control cash, how to account for tips, minimum internal control standards and Title 31 requirements. The program also covers the development of federal law and policy that specifically acknowledges tribal authorities to engage in gaming.

“Employees want to understand how to properly handle the cash, and they need to understand the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” Brown said. 

Certificate program presenters are all nationally-recognized Native professionals who work on a regular basis with tribal gaming enterprises, often as auditors. They have a real-world understanding of the financial management requirements as well as the day-to-day challenges in complying with the regulations.

More information about the Tribal Financial Manager Certificate for Tribal Gaming Enterprises is available through the American Indian Policy Institute by calling 480-965-1005 or at Registration is online at The deadline to register is Oct. 4.