Litigation | NIGC

8th Circuit upholds NIGC fine in Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe case

The Royal River Casino in Flandreau, South Dakota. Photo from Waymarking

A non-Indian gaming company that took too much money from the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota must pay a fine to the National Indian Gaming Commission, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on January 29.

Bettor Racing ran the pari-mutuel betting business at the Royal River Casino for several years but lacked a federally-approved management contract. So the NIGC sent a notice of violation in February 2012, ordering the company to pay $5 million in fines for violating the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

The company resisted but the 8th Circuit sided with the NIGC in a unanimous decision. The court held that the agency acted within its rights to ensure that the tribe was the "primary beneficiary" of its casino.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: Bettor Racing, Inc v. National Indian Gaming Commission

According to the decision, Bettor Racing at one point reimbursed nearly $1.1 million to the tribe but failed to pay everything that was owed. Both the court and the NIGC pointed out that the company had been taking more than 70 percent of the net revenues from the pari-mutuel operation, a split that violated IGRA.

To collect the full amount owed, the tribe pursued litigation in its own court system. A $7.6 million judgment against Bettor Racing was issued last September, according to Fredericks Peebles & Morgan, a law firm that represents the tribe.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, Bettor Racing, Inc v. National Indian Gaming Commission.

8th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision:
Bettor Racing, Inc v. National Indian Gaming Commission (January 29, 2016)

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Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe could lose casino's liquor license (11/26)