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California's Native American tribe offering real-money online Bingo

November 8, 2014

The Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Santa Ysabel Reservation, the Iipay Nation of San Diego County, is another of the Native American tribes in California that has pushed the envelope as far as online gambling concerns. The golden state, California, does not seem interested in getting involved in online gambling regulations even when the state next door, the state of Nevada, is already offering these types of services under Nevada’s gaming legislation. The Iipay Nation has started to offer online real-money bingo from its website; the tribe has been very clear before making this step, as it represents the need for California to regulate online gambling industry and a real difficult challenge as the tribe is going against federal legislation. The organization has stated the goal of the tribe on its website: “House-banked games and slot machines are defined as Class III games, and can only be offered in a tribal casino upon agreement with the state through a Tribal-State Gaming Compact. Santa Ysabel has had such a compact with the state since 2005, but has no plans to offer Class III gaming through its interactive website.”

The tribe is making efforts to finally launch an online poker room in the state but California does not seem to be in any kind of hurry; California is thinking on introducing some sort of online gaming legislation that would allow online poker rooms, but nothing else. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has already started offering real money online gaming this week at its site The bingo room is already functioning as the tribe is offering Class II gaming services, which means poker and bingo under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, completely out of state or federal legislation; this could explain why some California’s Native American tribes are starting to get ready. The legal consequences for any of these tribes are still there but the tribes seem to have found some sort of ambiguity in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Gambling lawyer Ian Imrich said: “Some legal commentators believe that limitations in tribal-state regulatory compacts and provisions in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) limit the ability of tribes to accept wagers from off Indian lands. They also argue that IGRA must be amended in order to address internet gaming in this setting”.


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