indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Supreme Court asked to rule on Indian gaming
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The Bush administration is asking the Supreme Court to step into a controversial area of the $14 billion Indian gaming industry.

In court papers filed this month, the Department of Justice said it would appeal two decisions favorable to tribal interests in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wyoming. On September 15, Solicitor General Ted Olson sought, and received, extensions to submit formal petitions next month.

The cases affect casino game classification, an increasingly litigious segment of Indian gaming. Tribal, state and federal regulators are often at odds over what is considered legal in states where Class III games, such as slot machines, are not allowed.

Tribes in these states end up turning technologically advanced games that mimic the look and feel of slot machines yet are marketed as Class II games like bingo or pull tabs. Some casino companies cater exclusively to this market.

But the tribes run the risk of incurring fines or having their casinos shut down if the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) says the machines are illegal unless operated pursuant to a tribal-state compact.

The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe and the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, both of Oklahoma, and the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming challenged NIGC's ruling on the "Magical Irish Instant Bingo Dispenser System." Federal officials threatened to prosecute the tribes if they offered the machine, saying it fell into Class III category of games.

But the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said NIGC's determination was wrong. In an April 17 decision, a unanimous three-judge panel ruled the game is Class II.

The Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska was in a similar situation with the "Lucky Tab II" machine. In a March 20 decision, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against NIGC and said the machine is Class II.

For the tribes, the stakes are high. The Santee Sioux Tribe was fined $4 million and its leaders were held in contempt of court because they had installed slot machines at their tiny casino. The tribe replaced the slots with Lucky Tab II machines and a reversal at the Supreme Court would deal another blow to a tribe whose bank accounts were once frozen in the dead of winter, forcing cancellation of services to tribal members.

Even though the Magical Irish game is no longer in play, tribes in Oklahoma have been under the watchful eye of NIGC chairman Phil Hogen, who has warned them repeatedly about offering other machines. Earlier this year, he settled a classification dispute with the Chickasaw Nation, which has the largest casino empire in the state, and a game manufacturer with close financial ties to Oklahoma tribes.

Although game classification is an area ripe for lawsuits, most of the cases have been resolved at the district court or appeals court. The Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue.

The Department of Justice has until October 23 to file petitions for writ of certiorari in U.S. v. Santee Sioux Tribe and Ashcroft v. Seneca-Cayuga Tribe. Only if the Supreme Court accepts the petition the would the cases be heard.

Lower Court Decisions:
U.S. v. Santee Sioux Tribe (March 20, 2003) | Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma v. National Indian Gaming Commission (April 17, 2003)

Relevant Links:
The Santee Sioux Tribe - http://www.santeedakota.org
National Indian Gaming Commission - http://www.nigc.gov

Related Stories:
NIGC resolves status of company's casino machine (09/24)
Hogen says Okla. tribes skirting federal gaming law (05/19)
Appeals court says game is legal Class II (04/21)
Appeals court upholds Santee casino games (3/20)
Casino company loses Indian gaming suit (09/11)
Santee Sioux leaders found in contempt of court (6/22)

Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native American Council meets at Democratic National Convention (7/25)
Police officer cleared over fatal shooting of Navajo Nation woman (7/25)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Donald Trump and his campaign of hatred (7/25)
Native Sun News: Tribal advocate focuses on Great Plains efforts (7/25)
Lakota Country Times: Descendants of Pine Ridge legend gather (7/25)
Johnny Rustywire: Navajo mother works hard at motel for family (7/25)
Alex Jacobs: Nation finally admits problem with policing and race (7/25)
Dwaine Perry: Ramapough Lunaape Nation marching for justice (7/25)
Charges filed for assault on disabled member of Nisqually Tribe (7/25)
Man arrested for American Indian Movement flag settles lawsuit (7/25)
Interior Department consults tribes about new trust reform law (7/22)
Training sessions planned for final Indian Child Welfare Act rule (7/22)
Yurok Tribe shares sad news about salmon festival -- no salmon (7/22)
Mark Charles: An entire nation's big problem with Donald Trump (7/22)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump promises a world with no treaties (7/22)
Native Sun News: Appeal delays release of Keepseagle checks (7/22)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts walk for cancer (7/22)
James Giago Davies: Police officers get away with 'kill option' (7/22)
Andre Cramblit: Police officer shootings seem far too common (7/22)
Donald Trump closes convention that left out Indian Country (7/22)
New law in Oklahoma goes against Indian Arts and Crafts Act (7/22)
NMAI seeks input from tribes about veterans memorial in DC (7/22)
Blackfeet Nation swears in leaders and looks to a new future (7/22)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe kicks off popular powwow after absence (7/22)
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe declares emergency over opioids (7/22)
Review: Hard look at drugs in Indian Country in 'Seventh Fire' (7/22)
State takes blame for sharing Tohono O'odham Nation minutes (7/22)
Pokagon Band debuts expansion of gaming facility in Michigan (7/22)
Karuk Tribe ready for groundbreaking on long-awaited casino (7/22)
California remains a battleground for Indian Child Welfare Act (7/21)
Yurok Tribe launches operation to rid reservation of marijuana (7/21)
Laguna Pueblo loses case linked to military contract kickbacks (7/21)
Cherokee player Koda Glover wins praise in major league debut (7/21)
Education Department hosts Native youth for roundtable in DC (7/21)
Navajo Nation lawmakers approve bill for travel plaza at casino (7/21)
Mark Trahant: Trump's Republican convention is one big failure (7/21)
Native Sun News: Five Rosebud tribal members killed in crash (7/21)
Lakota Country Times: Fire deals setback to Rosebud program (7/21)
Brandon Ecoffey: Carrying the voices of our people to masses (7/21)
Delphine Red Shirt: Our children need to be kept close to home (7/21)
Peter d'Errico: Celebrating the dark side of White 'civilization' (7/21)
Oglala Sioux Tribe confirms shooting death of 13-year-old girl (7/21)
Tribes in Connecticut sponsor cruise for Republican delegates (7/21)
Tribal lobbyist not buying Donald Trump's message of change (7/21)
Mechoopda Tribe aims to work with county on delayed casino (7/21)
Seminole Tribe helps with probe into robbery of casino patron (7/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.