Justia Gaming Law Opinion Summaries

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In this litigation surrounding the development of a gaming facility on the trust lands of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head, Inc., and the Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation (collectively, the Tribe) the First Circuit affirmed the amended final judgment of the district court as to a permitting issue, holding that the district court did not err.The Tribe planned to build a gaming facility on its trust lands in Dukes County, Massachusetts, but the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Town of Aquinnah, and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association sought to put a halt to the development until the Tribe complied with municipal and Commonwealth regulations that they claimed were applicable. At issue was whether a party who did not raise a particular issue, the permitting issue, in the first appeal to the First Circuit, though it could have, could do so on a successive appeal. The district court held that the Tribe had forfeited or waived the issue by not appealing the permitting issue. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that this case did not qualify as one involving an exceptional circumstance, and therefore, the permitting issue could not be raised on appeal. View "Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court refusing to allow Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC to intervene in litigation brought by Gulfside Casino Partnership against the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and the Arkansas Racing Commission, holding that Cherokee was entitled to intervention as a matter of right.Five applicants, including Gulfside and Cherokee, applied for a casino license during the May 2019 application period. The Commission denied each application on the grounds that each failed to include a letter of support from the county judge or a resolution from the county quorum court. Gulfside filed the underlying suit asking the circuit court to reverse the Commission's denial of its application. The application period was reopened in August 2019, at which time Cherokee submitted its application. Cherokee then moved for intervention to defend its right to have its application considered. The circuit court denied intervention. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Cherokee was entitled to intervention as of right under Ark. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2). View "Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC v. Gulfside Casino Partnership" on Justia Law

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court previously declared that certain tribal gaming compacts the Oklahoma Executive branch entered into with the Comanche and Otoe-Missouria Tribes were invalid under Oklahoma law because the gaming compacts authorized certain forms of Class III gaming prohibited by state law. While "Treat I" was pending before the Supreme Court, the Executive branch entered into two additional compacts with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Kialegee Tribal Town. The parties to the compacts submitted the tribal gaming compacts to the United States Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Interior deemed them approved by inaction, only to the extent they are consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Oklahoma Supreme Court determined these new compacts were also not valid: for the new compacts to be valid under Oklahoma law, the Executive branch must have negotiated the new compacts within the statutory bounds of the Model Tribal Gaming Compact (Model Compact) or obtained the approval of the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations. Without proper approval by the Joint Committee, the new tribal gaming compacts were invalid under Oklahoma law. View "Treat v. Stitt" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit held that the Wire Act's prohibitions are limited to interstate wire communications related to bets or wagers on sporting events or contests, thus affirming the district court's grant of Plaintiffs' motions for summary judgment.In 2011, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a legal opinion concluding that the Wire Act's prohibitions were uniformly limited to sports gambling. In 2018, the OLC issued an opinion, which was later adopted by the DOJ, that all prohibitions in the Wire Act, with one exception, applied to all forms of bets or waters. In 2019, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission and one of its vendors commenced this action seeking relief under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Declaratory Judgment Act. The district court granted relief, ruling that the Wire Act was limited to sports gambling. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) this controversy is justiciable; and (2) the Wire Act applies only to interstate wire communications related to sporting events or contests. View "New Hampshire Lottery Commission v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the court of appeals that the term "person" in Kentucky's Loss Recovery Act, Ky. Rev. Stat. Chapter 372, is limited to a natural person, holding that the Commonwealth had standing to bring this suit.The Commonwealth, through the Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, filed the underlying complaint seeking to recover under statutory treble damages for money lost by its citizens playing real-money poker on an illegal internet website called PokerStars, which was owned by Defendants (collectively, PokerStars). The court entered partial summary judgment against Defendants based on the actual amount Kentucky players lost on PokerStars' websites. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the Commonwealth lacked standing because it did not qualify as "any other person" under the Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Commonwealth qualified as a "person" under the Act; (2) the Commonwealth had standing to bring this lawsuit; and (3) the manner in which the trial court calculated damages in this case was proper. View "Commonwealth ex rel. Brown v. Stars Interactive Holdings Ltd." on Justia Law

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In appeals consolidated for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review, the circuit court affirmed the decision of the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) to deny the gaming site application of RW Development, LLC (RW). The MGC and the circuit court found that RW’s proposed gaming site failed to meet the governing statutory and regulatory requirements under Mississippi Code Section 97-33-1 (Rev. 2014) in the first instance, and 13 Mississippi Administrative Code Part 2, Rule 1.4(d) (adopted May 1, 2013), Westlaw, in the second. The Supreme Court concurred with the Commission and circuit court that: (1) in case No. 2019-SA-01813-SCT, RW failed to provide evidence that its proposed gaming site was within eight hundred feet of the MHWL; and (2) in case No. 2019-SA-01815-SCT, RW failed to establish that the mean high water line point of reference was located on RW’s premises, that RW owned or leased the land contiguous to the point of reference and its proposed gaming site, and that the land would play an integral part in RW's project. View "RW Development, LLC v. Mississippi Gaming Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the trial court sustaining in part and dismissing in part Lime Rock Park, LLC's appeal from the adoption of the Planning Zoning Commission of the Town of Salisbury of certain amendments to the Town's zoning regulations restricting motor vehicle racing activities on property owned by Lime Rock, holding that the trial court erred in part.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the trial court erred when it (a) sustained the portion of Plaintiff's appeal claiming that the provision of the regulations prohibiting racing activities on Sundays was statutorily preempted, (b) denied the portion of the appeal claiming that the Commission lacked the authority to condition the filing of a petition to amend the regulations on obtaining a special permit, and (c) concluded that the amended regulation prohibited racing activities on Saturdays; and (2) the trial court did not err when it denied the portion of the appeal claiming that the restrictions on unmufflered racing are subject to the provision of Conn. Gen. Stat. 22a-73(c) requiring the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection to approve municipal noise control ordinances. View "Lime Rock Park, LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Appellant's petition for judicial review of the order of the Nevada Gaming Control Board affirming the decision of a Board agent that a casino's refusal to redeem Appellant's six $5,000 chips because it could not verify that Appellant had won them, holding that because Appellant was in fact a "patron" of the casino, the Board should have instructed the casino to redeem Appellant's chips.Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation (NGCR) 12.060(2)(c) provides that a licensee must promptly redeem its chips and tokens from its patrons. When a casino refused to redeem Appellant's chips, Appellant filed a complaint. A Board agent found that Appellant was a patron but concluded that because the casino could not verify that Appellant had won the chips, it need not have redeemed them. The Board affirmed. The district court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant was a patron of the casino, the casino should have promptly redeemed Appellant's chips under NGCR 12.060(2)(c). View "Young v. Nevada Gaming Control Board" on Justia Law

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In this case considering the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's regulations as applied to historical horse racing the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court determining that the Encore system constitutes a "pari-mutuel system of wagering," holding that the trial court misapplied the applicable regulation as a matter of law.The Commission, the Department of Revenue and several horse racing associations sought judicial approval for wagering on historical horse racing. The Family Foundation of Kentucky, Inc. was permitted to intervene and challenged both the validity of regulations and the premise that wagering on historical horse races was truly pari-mutuel wagering. The trial court concluded that the Encore system constituted a pari-mutuel system of wagering approved by the Commission. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Encore system does not create a wagering pool among patrons such that they are wagering among themselves, as required for pari-mutuel wagering. View "Family Trust Foundation of Kentucky, Inc. v. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission" on Justia Law

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Two appeals were consolidated for the purposes of this opinion: case no. 1180675 ("the Lowndes County case"), the State appealed the Lowndes Circuit Court's order granting the motions to dismiss filed by Epic Tech, LLC; White Hall Enrichment Advancement Team d/b/a Southern Star Entertainment; White Hall Entertainment; and the White Hall Town Council (collectively, "the Lowndes County defendants"); case no. 1180794 ("the Macon County case"), the State appealed the Macon Circuit Court's order granting the motions to dismiss filed by Epic Tech, LLC, and K.C. Economic Development, LLC, d/b/a VictoryLand Casino ("KCED")(collectively, "the Macon County defendants"). In 2017, the State sued the Lowndes County defendants asserting a public-nuisance claim. In a second amended complaint, the State asserted it was seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to abate a public nuisance of unlawful gambling through continued operation of illegal slot machines and other "unlawful gambling devices." The Lowndes County defendants moved to dismiss, raising, amongst other defenses, that the State failed to join the operators of two Wind Creek casinos. The Lowndes Circuit Court ultimately granted the motion to dismiss, finding it did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to grant the relief the State requested. The State also sued defendants in Macon County Circuit court, again alleging public nuisance from operation of illegal slot machines. Again, the State requested declaratory and injunctive relief. The Macon County court likewise dismissed on grounds it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction.The State argued on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court that the circuit courts erred in concluding they lacked subject matter jurisdiction over their respective cases. The Supreme Court concurred with the State and reversed the circuit courts. The matters were remanded for further proceedings. View "Alabama v. Epic Tech, LLC, et al." on Justia Law