Wisconsin asks Supreme Court to rule on Ho-Chunk Nation poker

The Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison facility in Wisconsin. Photo from Facebook

An Indian gaming case could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court if the state of Wisconsin gets its way.

Attorney General Brad D. Schimel filed a petition with the justices on Monday, asking them to determine whether the Ho-Chunk Nation can offer electronic poker at its gaming facility in Madison. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the tribe in April but the state wants that ruling overturned.

"The Seventh Circuit’s application of the Indian law canons and its use of legislative history conflicts with this Court’s precedent regarding interpretive canons and unambiguous statutes." the petition stated.

Class III gaming is legal in Wisconsin and the tribe has a Class III gaming compact with the state. But the agreement does not cover Madison so the state believes electronic poker cannot be offered there.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments in Wisconsin v. Ho-Chunk Nation

The 7th Circuit, however, looked at all of the circumstances and concluded that the game falls into the Class II category. The court also noted that the state has not criminalized video poker.

"A state must criminalize a gambling activity in order to prohibit the tribe from engaging in it," Chief Judge Diane Pamela Wood wrote in the unanimous April 29 decision. "Wisconsin does not criminalize non-banked poker; it decriminalized that type of gaming in 1999."

The tribe's response to the state's petition is due August 26, according to Docket No. 15-114. After it has been submitted, the state will be able to file one more reply.

Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the 7th Circuit case, Wisconsin v. Ho-Chunk Nation.

Get the Story:
State asks US Supreme Court to take Ho Chunk casino case (AP 7/28)
State asks U.S. Supreme Court to review Ho-Chunk poker decision (The Wisconsin State Journal 7/28)
The Native American kids who get $200k for graduating (The Guardian 7/28)

7th Circuit Decision:
Wisconsin v. Ho-Chunk Nation (April 29, 2015)

Relevant Documents:
NIGC Game Classification Opinion (February 26, 2009)

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