USA Tribal Online Gambling Legal Confusion Continues

Published Thursday, January 26, 2017 -
USA Tribal Online Gambling Legal Confusion Continues

The world of online gambling has seen some interesting twists and turns when it comes to the legality of the pastime in certain jurisdictions. In Canada for example there is a tribal element that looks confusing to many who view the online gambling industry without the native influence. There is a sovereign nation within the Canadian borders that claims it has a legal right to operate online casinos. The Kahnawake Mohawk Nation essentially is able to run an online casino or lease space to all sorts of other online casinos from within Canadian borders and not be prosecuted. In 1996, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, was established offering gaming licenses to online casinos that qualify from all over the world.

The introduction of online casinos has not been so easy in the USA where Native American gaming is comprised of casinos, bingo halls, and other gambling operations that is restricted to Indian reservations or other tribal land.  In 2015, the 244 tribes that run native casinos generated $30 billion in revenues. They now account for 43% of America’s total casino gambling revenue.

In December of 2016 US Southern District of California Judge Anthony Battaglia ruled that the Tribal online gaming launched in California by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel  is in direct violation of federal law. Battaglia order the Iipay Nation to immediately stop offering or conducting any gambling or game of chance on the internet.

The ruling in California further confuses the Federal laws regarding online gambling when looking at a case last year in another state. In April of 2016 the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma launched an online poker site and revealed it will offer real money games in 2017 to players anywhere in the world.  A Western District of Oklahoma judge said there are “no genuine issues” for not allowing a sovereign organization from conducting Class II online gambling to offshore customers.




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