A gaming website is reporting that the Attorney General for the State of California has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the online bingo program recently launched by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. The online source, CaliforniaOnlinePoker.com, said the lawsuit was filed on November 18, and claims that the tribe’s action in conducting online bingo violates state and federal law, as well as its compact with the state because the gaming is offered to bettors not located on tribal land.
Documents filed in the lawsuit begin with this statement of the case:
This action seeks appropriate injunctive relief to prevent unlawful Internet gambling; Defendant Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, also known as Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians (Tribe), has begun to offer a facsimile of bingo over the Internet to bettors, who are not located on the Tribe’s Indian lands. In addition to violating state and federal law, the Tribe’s conduct materially breaches the tribal-state class III gaming compact (Compact) between the Tribe. and the State.
According to the report, the state also asserts in the lawsuit that state officials attempted without success to meet with tribal officials to discuss their online gaming plans. In a written response to the state’s request, the tribe advised that it had no plans to offer online bingo, but intended to offer online poker only.
The tribe has previously stated that it is exercising its sovereign right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to regulate and conduct Class II gaming from the tribe’s reservation.