After a long battle, the United States government has prevailed, shutting down an online gambling site operated by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel.
In 2014, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel Indians decided to launch an online gaming site in the United States. Known as Desert Bingo, the site offered players the opportunity to enjoy online bingo gaming. The tribe then decided they would follow up their online bingo site with an online poker option, offering real money poker gaming to players known as Private Table. The United States government was not happy about this and thus a fight began.
Multiple Lawsuits Filed
In an effort to shut down the tribe and their online gaming offerings, several lawsuits were filed by the government. Both state and federal authorities filed suits in efforts to shut down the operations. Both were alleging that the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel tribe were offering gambling operations that did not protect players who were located outside of the tribal grounds from accessing the gaming platforms.
In the process, the state ended up ruling against the tribe in their efforts to offer Class II bingo games to individuals who are from California. With this ruling, came the suspension of the Desert Rose Bingo offering.
Go back just one year ago and authorities within the state of California as well as the United States government decided to merge their individual cases into one against the tribe. Just last week, arguments were heard from both sites of the matter and Judge Anthony Battaglia of the United States Southern District of California created an order for the federal level injunction to be permanent.
The Judge’s Ruling
The ruling by Battaglia was 34 pages long and stated that the Iipay Nation as well as the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission along with Santa Ysabel Interactive were in violation of the UIGEA of 2006 and were ordered to stop offering such services over the internet to any resident or visitor to the state of California who were not located on the Indian lands of the tribe. Basically, the tribe is restricted to offering online gaming to those who are situated on their lands only.
On top of this, the tribe was also directed to stop accepting credit or the proceeds of credit that is extended on behalf or to residents or visitors to the state who places a bet or wager online in connection with games of chance or gambling options that the tribe provides. This was to include credit cards.
Despite all the negatives, the tribe was able to win in some way. Battaglia did decide to dismiss the claim by the state that the tribe had breached their gambling compact. The tribe was able to win the argument that the online bingo gaming they provided was categorized correctly as Class II and not Class III tribal gaming. This means that the gaming option was considered legal based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of the United States.
However, this was a small victory when considering that the federal government used the UIGEA in their favor. In this ruling, Battaglia stated that it is beyond dispute that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act applies to only what is conducted on Indian lands. What of gaming that derives from servers that are located on such lands and ones that utilize the internet to be able to reach beyond borders of Indian country to those who are physically located within states where gambling is illegal? This is the issue presented by this case, according to Battaglia.