indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: North Dakota takes on impacts of energy boom (1/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux man calls on US to honor its word (1/26)
Steven Newcomb: Supreme Court decision influenced by religion (1/26)
Mateo Romero: Era of white American male rule coming to an end (1/26)
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation mourns passing of Gary Mitchell (1/26)
Officer accused of using Taser on 2 boys in Alaska Native village (1/26)
Navajo Nation Council delegate does double duty as metalhead (1/26)
Editorial: Alaska tribe makes tough decision to banish bad actors (1/26)
Opinion: Wealthy tribes shouldn't follow land-into-trust process (1/26)
Obama to seek stronger protections for wildlife refuge in Alaska (1/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation remains hopeful on off-reservation casino bid (1/26)
Chukchansi Tribe comes together in hopes of reopening casino (1/26)
Bois Forte Band reports six percent drop in revenues at casino (1/26)
Washington tribes can add more machines with new casino deal (1/26)
Editorial: Battle against Poarch Creek casinos is a waste of time (1/26)
Native Sun News: Montana basketball legend gives back to youth (1/23)
Mark Trahant: Building the new digital economy in Indian Country (1/23)
James Giago Davies: Washington team insults the first Americans (1/23)
Gyasi Ross: Indian Country can't get enough of Seattle Seahawks (1/23)
Jay Daniels: A tribute to Crow basketball legend Elvis D. Old Bull (1/23)
Richard Thornton: People of One Fire exposing forgotten history (1/23)
NARF: Supreme Court decision impacts rights of Indian inmates (1/23)
Oglala Sioux medicine man dies awaiting trial in sex abuse case (1/23)
No charges filed for deaths of two people on Barona Reservation (1/23)
IRS placed $664K in tax liens on leader of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (1/23)
Yellowstone National Park starts transferring bison for slaughter (1/23)
Fire in 1865 destroyed Smithsonian collection of Indian portraits (1/23)
Turtle Talk: Gaming compact cases are extremely difficult to win (1/23)
Governor rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming plan (1/23)
Otoe-Missouria Tribe reaches agreement with city for new casino (1/23)
Chehalis Tribe to start work on $40M expansion of gaming facility (1/23)
Idaho lawmakers question gaming machines at non-Indian tracks (1/23)
State of Indian Nations as delivered by NCAI President Cladoosby (1/22)
Sen. Barrasso delivers response to NCAI's State of Indian Nations (1/22)
Native Sun News: Tribes step up with donations for cultural center (1/22)
Ivan Star: Indian Country must put more effort in public relations (1/22)
Steven Newcomb: Indian policy is unmistakenly linked to religion (1/22)
Harlan McKosato: Apache woman develops 'indispensible' guide (1/22)
Tristan Ahtone: Former Native gang member tries to start anew (1/22)
Q&A with Chemehuevi artist Cara Romero on 'Last Indian Market' (1/22)
Sainthood for founder of brutal California Indian mission system (1/22)
Native mayor promises to change city's reputation as most racist (1/22)
Deadline passes to appeal Fond du Lac Band land-into-trust case (1/22)
City rejects Citizen Potawatomi Nation land detachment petition (1/22)
Oklahoma lawmakers debate future of unfinished Indian museum (1/22)
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation inaugurates Leland Kinter as chairman (1/22)
City to enter public transportation contract with Mississippi Band (1/22)
Officials in Idaho won't try to find a new name for 'Squaw Butte' (1/22)
Opinion: Blood Run landmark a place of reverence for area tribes (1/22)
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.