Justia Gaming Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
by
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of the DOI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, federal officials, and the Spokane Tribe of Indians, in an action brought by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, challenging the Secretary of DOI's decision determining that the Spokane Tribe of Indians' proposed gaming establishment on newly acquired off-reservation land would not be detrimental to the surrounding community. Kalispel raised challenges pursuant to the the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.The panel held that IGRA requires the Secretary to weigh and consider the various interests of those within the surrounding community when deciding whether additional off-reservation gaming would be detrimental to the surrounding community. A showing that additional gaming may be detrimental to some members of the surrounding community, including an Indian tribe, does not dictate the outcome of the Secretary's two-step determination. The panel agreed with the DC Circuit and rejected Kalispel's argument that any detriment to Kalispel precluded the Secretary from issuing a favorable two-part determination. Rather, the panel concluded that the Secretary had the authority to issue a two-step determination, and the Secretary's decision to issue a favorable decision here was neither arbitrary nor capricious. The panel declined to reach the merits of Kalispel's contention, which was not advanced in the district court, that the Secretary previously announced a policy that additional off-reservation gaming would not be approved if a nearby Indian tribe could show that additional gaming would be detrimental to it. Finally, the panel concluded that Kalispel has not shown that the Secretary failed to consider its claimed harms or to comply with the relevant statutes and regulations, and thus it has not shown that the Secretary violated the federal government's trust duty owed to Kalispel. View "Kalispel Tribe of Indians v. U.S. Department of the Interior" on Justia Law

by
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

by
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

by
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the Secretary's issuance, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), of Secretarial Procedures which authorize the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians to operate class III gaming activities on a parcel of land in Madera, California. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary and intervenor.The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part as to plaintiffs' Johnson Act claim, holding that Secretarial Procedures are an exception to the prohibitions of the Johnson Act and thus they comply with the Administrative Procedure Act. The panel vacated and remanded in part as to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) claim, holding that the IGRA does not categorically bar application of NEPA because the two statutes are not irreconcilable and do not displace each other, and because a contrary result would contravene congressional intent and common sense. Finally, the panel vacated and remanded in part as to the Clean Air Act (CCA) claim, holding that Secretarial Procedures are categorically exempt from the CAA's requirement of a conformity determination. View "Stand Up for California! v. U.S. Department of the Interior" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff cardrooms, filed suit challenging the Secretary's approval of a Nevada-style casino project on off-reservation land in the County of Madera, California by the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, a federally recognized tribe. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Department and Secretary.The Ninth Circuit held that the Tribe's jurisdiction over the Madera Parcel operates as a matter of law and the Tribe clearly exercised governmental power when it entered into agreements with local governments and enacted ordinances concerning the property; because neither the Enclave Clause nor 40 U.S.C. 3112 are implicated here, neither the State's consent nor cession is required for the Tribe to acquire any jurisdiction over the Madera Parcel; and the Indian Reorganization Act does not offend the Tenth Amendment because Congress has plenary authority to regulate Indian affairs. Therefore, the Secretary's actions were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. View "Club One Casino, Inc. v. Bernhardt" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging California Business & Professions Code 19858 and 19858.5 as facially unconstitutional under the Dormant Commerce Clause. The district court dismissed the action as time-barred.The panel reversed and held that, although it has not applied a state statute of limitations to a facial challenge under the Dormant Commerce Clause, it saw no reason to treat such a claim differently from facial constitutional claims under the First, Fifth, or Fourteenth Amendments. Therefore, consistent with its case law, the panel held that plaintiffs' claims were subject to the forum state's statute of limitations. In this case, the relevant statute of limitations was two years. The panel held that, assuming for the sake of analysis that sections 19858 and 19858.5 violate the Dormant Commerce Clause, plaintiffs have demonstrated a continuing violation. Therefore, plaintiffs' injuries fell within the relevant statutory period and the district court erred by concluding otherwise. View "Flynt v. Shimazu" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting summary judgment to the state in an action brought by Indian tribes under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). California permits certain forms of class III gaming under an effective tribal-state gaming compact. At issue was the termination provision in a 1999 compact.The panel held that the plain language of the IGRA permits tribes and states to negotiate the duration of a compact governing the conduct of a tribe's class III gaming activities. Therefore, the panel held that the termination provision in the compact at issue was not void under the IGRA. View "Chemehuevi Indian Tribe v. Newsom" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the government defendants, in an action brought by the Community challenging Interior's determination that it is ineligible for gaming for purposes of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The panel held that the agency's determination was correct, because the IGRA clearly and unambiguously requires federal recognition by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior before a tribe may qualify to participate in Indian gaming. The panel also held that the Frank's Landing Act did not authorize the Community to engage in class II gaming. View "Frank's Landing Indian Community v. National Indian Gaming Commission" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to California and the United States in an action seeking injunctive relief prohibiting the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel from continuing to operate Desert Rose Casino.The panel held that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) protects gaming activity conducted on Indian lands. However, a patron's act of placing a bet or wager on a game of Desert Rose Bingo (DRB) while located in California constitutes gaming activity that is not located on Indian lands. Therefore, it violates the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and was not protected by the IGRA. The panel further held that, even if Iipay was correct that all of the "gaming activity" associated with DRB occurred on Indian lands, the patrons' act of placing bets or wagers over the internet while located in a jurisdiction where those bets or wagers was illegal makes Iipay's decision to accept financial payments associated with those bets or wagers a violation of the UIGEA. View "California v. Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a purported class action against Churchill Downs alleging violations of Washington's Recovery of Money Lost (RMLGA) at Gambling Act and Consumer Protection Act, and unjust enrichment. The panel held that Big Fish Casino constituted illegal gambling under Washington law because its virtual chips were a "thing of value." The panel also held that plaintiff could recover the value of the virtual chips lost under the RMLGA. In this case, plaintiff alleged that she lost over $1,000 worth of virtual chips while playing Big Fish Casino, and she can recover the value of these lost chips from Churchill Downs, as proprietor of Big Fish Casino. Therefore, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Kater v. Churchill Downs Inc." on Justia Law