Justia Gaming Law Opinion Summaries

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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

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the district court reversing and vacating the order of the Nebraska State Racing Commission directing Neb. Rev. Stat. 2-1207(2) funds collected by the Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, Inc. (HBPA) from Nebraska horse racing tracks be transferred to the Nebraska Thoroughbred Breeders Association (NTBA), holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this matter.At issue was money accumulated from deductions of horse racing wagers under section 2-1207(2) and 2-1207.01 for the support, promotion, and preservation of agriculture and horse breeding in the state. The Commission granted NTBA's request to order the HBPA to pay all NTBA accumulated funds in the HBPA's possession to the NTBA Omaha Exposition and Racing, Inc. (OER) submitted a petition for judicial review. The district court reversed and vacated the Commission's order, concluding that the Commission erred by appointing NTBA as custodian and granting NTBA the authority collect and determine distribution of the deducted funds. The Supreme Court vacated the district court's order and dismissed this appeal, holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction due to OER's failure to sufficiently serve NTBA and the Commission. View "Omaha Exposition & Racing, Inc. v. Nebraska State Gaming Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed as moot Appellees' motion to dismiss the appeal by Citizens for a Better Pope County, a local option ballot question committee, holding that the claims set forth in Citizens' appeal were moot.After the Pope County Quorum Court adopted a resolution in support of a casino license application, Citizens sought declaratory and injunctive relief in the circuit court requesting an order prohibiting and county judge and quorum court from taking any official action to expressly approve a casino applicant without first presenting the issue to voters in an election, as required by Ordinance 2018-O-42. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss. The day before the hearing on the motion Ordinance 2018-O-42 was repealed. The circuit court denied declaratory relief, concluding that Ordinance 2018-O-42 unconstitutionally conflicted with amendment 100 of the Arkansas Constitution, and further held that the mandamus request was moot. The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal as moot, holding that, due to the repeal of Ordinance 2018-O-42, this Court's judgment on Citizens' claims would have no practical effect on an existing legal controversy. View "Citizens for a Better Pope County v. Cross" on Justia Law

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During negotiations for a new tribal-state compact between the Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians and California, Pauma sought authorization to offer on-track horse racing and wagering and an expanded set of lottery games. The parties met and corresponded. In 2015, Pauma triggered the 1999 Compact’s dispute resolution process. In January 2016, the state confirmed its agreement to renegotiate the 1999 Compact in full and told Pauma that it “look[ed] forward” to receiving a draft compact from Pauma with Pauma’s “plans for on-track betting.” Rather than propose a draft compact or disclose any information about the on-track facility, Pauma notified the state that it wanted to separately negotiate each item of the compact and proposed modifications to the 1999 Compact’s lottery game language. California rejected Pauma’s piecemeal negotiation approach, rejected Pauma’s lottery game language, and advised that it would send a “complete draft compact to guide our future discussions.” The subsequent 140-page draft addressed a broad array of topics. Pauma never responded but filed suit.The district court held that California satisfied its obligation to negotiate in good faith under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. 2701. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. The state agreed to negotiate for the new types of class III gaming that Pauma sought authorization to offer, actively engaged in the negotiations, and remained willing to continue the negotiations when Pauma filed the litigation. View "Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians v. California" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal concluding that the Governor acted lawfully when he concurred in the determination of the United States Secretary of the Interior (Interior Secretary) to allow casino-style gaming on tribal trust land in California, holding that California law empowers the Governor to concur.Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq., the Interior Secretary may permit gaming on certain land taken into federal trust for an Indian tribe so long as the Governor of the state where the land is located concurs. At issue was whether the California Governor has the authority to concur in the Interior Secretary's determination to allow gaming on tribal trust land in California where the California Constitution has not granted explicit authority to concur in the cooperative-federalism scheme. The Supreme Court held that because the California Constitution, as amended in 2000, permits casino-style gaming under certain conditions on Indian and tribal lands and the Legislature imposed no restriction to the Governor's concurrence power, the Governor acted lawfully in concurring in the Interior Secretary's determination. View "United Auburn Indian Community of Auburn Rancheria v. Newsom" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction in an action challenging Arizona Revised Statute 5-112(U). Section 5-112(U) requires, among other things, that any simulcast of live horseracing into Arizona that originates outside the state "must be offered to each commercial live-racing permittee … and additional wagering facility" in the state.The panel held that the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 (IHA) does not preempt section 5-112(U). The panel also held that Monarch, a simulcast purchaser and sales agent for racetracks, and Laurel Park, a Maryland racetrack whose races Monarch simulcasts, had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims. The panel explained that the IHA does not address how the states can regulate simulcasts, and the Arizona statute does not address Laurel Park's statutory right to consent before interstate wagering on its races can be conducted. Therefore, it is not facially impossible to comply with both laws. Furthermore, the Arizona statute does not frustrate the intent of the IHA.The panel rejected plaintiffs' contention that section 5-112(U) is an unconstitutional regulation on commercial speech and a forbidden content-based restriction; rejected plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment and Due Process challenges; held that the Arizona statute does not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause; and held that the statute did not give rise to a Contract Clause claim. View "Monarch Content Management LLC v. Arizona Department of Gaming" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs owned two horses registered to race, but state racing officials determined that the horses were ineligible. The owners sued, alleging denial of due process in disqualifying one of the horses. The district court dismissed the claim based on the absence of a property or liberty interest. The owners asked the district court to alter or amend the judgment. The district court denied this request, and the owners appealed. Finding that the district court acted within its discretion in rejecting these arguments as a basis to alter or amend the judgment, as procedurally and substantively invalid, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the denial of the motion to alter or amend and dismissal of the suit. View "Castanon v. Cathey" on Justia Law

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Through mediation efforts in connection with a federal lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Respondent, the Honorable J. Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma, negotiated and entered into new tribal gaming compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes to increase state gaming revenues. The tribal gaming compacts were submitted to the United States Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Interior deemed them approved by inaction, only to the extent they were consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes were not parties to this matter; these tribes were sovereign nations and have not submitted to the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The limited question presented to the Oklahoma Supreme Court was whether Governor Stitt had the authority to bind the State with respect to the new tribal gaming compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes. To this, the Supreme Court held he did not. The tribal gaming compacts Governor Stitt entered into with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes authorized certain forms of Class III gaming, including house-banked card and table games and event wagering. Any gaming compact to authorize Class III gaming had to be validly entered into under state law, and it was Oklahoma law that determined whether the compact was consistent with the IGRA. The tribal gaming compacts Governor Stitt entered into with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes were invalid under Oklahoma law. The State of Oklahoma was not and could not be legally bound by those compacts until such time as the Legislature enacted laws to allow the specific Class III gaming at issue, and in turn, allowing the Governor to negotiate additional revenue. View "Treat v. Stitt" on Justia Law