Tribal Online Gambling Challenged in Californian Court

Published Friday, November 21, 2014 -
Tribal Online Gambling Challenged in Californian Court

Located in northeastern San Diego County, California, USA the reservation of the Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians has been in existence since 1893. The Mission Indians or the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel as they are known has been handed a law suit by the State of California pertaining to violation of federal statutes for creating and launching an online bingo domain that accepts real money.  

The Tribe says it has broken no laws but is enacting its sovereign right to offer the online game. California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris maintains the Iipay Nation is disregarding a slew of laws including the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. A hearing is scheduled for December 4th and it may be presided over by Judge Anthony J. Battaglia. The case file cites the UIGEA and the IGRA at least forty times. A statement regarding the case was published reading, “This action seeks appropriate injunctive relief to prevent unlawful Internet gambling; Defendant Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, also known as Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians (Tribe), has begun to offer a facsimile of bingo over the Internet to bettors, who are not located on the Tribe’s Indian lands. In addition to violating state and federal law, the Tribe’s conduct materially breaches the tribal-state class III gaming compact (Compact) between the Tribe. and the State.”

It is the Tribe`s understanding they are only offering what they are legally sanctioned to offer by the federal mandate which says both bingo and poker are defined as Class II gaming, which Indian Tribes are permitted to license and regulate provided such gaming is allowed in the state. Part of the statement of claim from the government is ominous, declaring the Santa Ysabel’s online bingo site,, “an imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare” and in the absence of a temporarily restraining order warned of “far-reaching and immediate effects on millions of Californians.”




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