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Real money gaming in California finds federal court

November 21, 2014

The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, a Native American tribe located in San Diego County, California, has been the first in California to dare the Federal Government by open a real-money online bingo site. The Indian tribe from San Diego County started last summer spreading the rumors about the launch of the real-money version of the free-play poker room, Private Table. The market knew that the Native American tribe was about to come out with something, anything. Last month, October, just a few months after the rumors started, the operator launched Desert Rose Bingo, a real-money bingo site, in partnership with i-gaming firm Great Luck LLC.

Even though California might look to some one of the easy US states where business can play around with the federal legislation, the Golden State is actually one of the firmest when it comes to Federal Legislation. California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has brought this case to the Federal Court, requesting a temporary restraining order as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions against the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel’s real-money online bingo site. The attorney’s office has stated that the real-money gaming sites are still violating both, state and federal law; the attorney’s office has brought up two main acts, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). UIGEA has been allowing tribal online gambling as long as the bets stay within the Indian lands of a specific tribe. However, the UIGEA has also a few demands to the operators: any gambling operator must use tools to verify age as well as geo-location technology: “reasonably designed to block access to minors and persons located outside of the applicable Tribal lands”. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel does not seem to understand well these two main requirements for companies to enter the gambling market in the US, breaching both state and federal gambling legislation. California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, has even tested the site by opened an account in Desert Rose and played bingo outside of the tribe’s resort: “The Tribe is reaching out to Californians irrespective of whether they are on its Indian lands. IGRA does not allow this. The UIGEA does not allow this. The Compact does not allow this”.


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