The state of California is claiming that the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has violated several agreements and laws by offering online bingo gaming via the Internet. Earlier this week a court motion was filed by Kamala D. Harris, the California Attorney General, as the tribe began to provide online bingo for players within the state, not just within the borders of the tribal lands.
The state is claiming that the Iipay Nation is breaking the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, among other laws and agreements within the state. The Tribe has denied the charges and has now responded to the filing by the state.
According to PokerUpdate, the tribe has two arguments in response to the charges. First, the tribe says that the state has not properly characterized the legal classification of the Internet bingo game under the regulatory compact of 2003. A second point is that the tribe believes the state is using their characterization to overreach their authority and try and prevent the Iipay Nation from engaging in the activity that is legally reserved to it based on the language of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the Tribal Sovereign Immunity.
The main problem is the classification of online bingo. The state believes that the original motion can have an injunction that is warranted because the game of bingo is provided by the tribe but over the internet and applies to the definition of an electronica ‘facsimile’ of any game of chance. The terms of the Compact define electronic facsimiles as Class III Gaming and this means the Tribe cannot offer this online unless others in the state are able to do so under the state and federal law.
The Tribe does not agree with this classification and argues that there is no legal distinction between the land based bingo games that are classified as Class II Gaming and electronic bingo game. The Tribe believes the online gaming option falls in to Class II instead of Class III, therefore making the game legal to offer.
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