Court of Appeals Keeps Ban on Tribe’s Online Casinos in California

A California appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision in favor of the state and federal government banning the continued operation of an internet casino.

Judge Carlos Bea from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California wrote in his opinion that the act of putting a bet in the virtual casino while within the state of California was not protected under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

“Desert Rose Casino violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA),” Bea stated.

In his opinion, the judge explained that even when these betting in Desert Rose Casino’s virtual game room were situated on Indian grounds, plaintiffs Iipay Nation’s acceptance of these wagers violated the UIGEA.
“The UIGEA does produce a method in which a ‘bet or wager’ should be legal both where it is ‘initiated’ and where it is ‘received.’” the opinion states.

The Desert Rose Casino, run by defendants Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, is really a server-based bingo game. The defendants hold tribal land located in San Diego County. After the failure of their brick-and-mortar casino on tribal lands, they began the on-line bingo casino in 2014.

Shortly after its inception, the State of California and also the federal government sued the defendants, seeking injunctive relief to prohibit the casino’s continued operation. The district court issued a temporary restraining order halting its operation pending the outcome of the case.

After each sides requested summary judgment in the case, the district court ruled in favor from the plaintiffs, stating the casino was in violation of the UIGEA and issued a permanent injunction barring if from operating.

Iipay appealed the trial court’s summary judgement, which the appellate court has upheld.

“The UIGEA prevents using the web to circumvent current state and federal gambling laws,” the opinion states.

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