Iipay Nation iGambling Site Violates Federal Law

When the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel launched its DesertRoseBingo site in California back in 2014, the tribe had big ambitions of expanding its online offering further to include an internet poker room called Private Table. Those aspirations have now been doused after a federal judge in California ruled that their actions constituted a violation of federal law, contrary to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.
California has been debating whether or not to legalize online gambling for several years now, and evidently tired of all the waiting The Iipay Nation sought its own path, claiming that it was within its sovereign right as set out in the Indian Gaming and Regulations Act (IGRA) of 1988.
While IGRA allows federally recognized tribes to offer class II gaming, which includes poker and bingo, without first seeking special permission from the state, the law predates the internet, thus laying its interpretation up for debate. As a result, shortly after launching its bingo site and announcing its intention to add a poker room to its online gambling mix, a federal restraining order was placed on DesertRoseBingo, with the site subsequently taken offline pending a legal resolution.
The recent decision to deem the tribe’s action as a federal violation of the UIGEA seems to have hinged on the fact that the IGRA permits class II games to take place only on tribal lands. Summing up the case, Judge Anthony J. Battaglia of the US District Court for the Southern District of California, explained:
“Were the Court to give IGRA the broad construction Tribal Defendants urge, under no circumstances would the United States be able to enforce UIGEA where some portion of the activity originates from servers located on Indian lands.”
Having received full clarification, the Iipay Nation will now be forced to comply with the Judge’s ruling, which includes the suspension of accepting any online gambling payments from people located outside their land near San Diego.


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