CALIFORNIA v. IIPAY NATION OF SANTA YSABEL [re Internet Gaming – UIGEA]
Opinion by Judge Bea
The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of the State of California and the United States in their action seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel from continuing to operate Desert Rose Casino.
Desert Rose Casino is exclusively a server-based bingo game that allows patrons to play computerized bingo over the internet. Iipay Nation is a federally recognized Indian tribe with tribal lands located in San Diego County, California.
The panel held that Iipay Nation’s operation of Desert Rose Casino violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”). The panel held that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act protected gaming activity conducted on Indian lands, but the patrons’ act of placing a bet or wager on a game of Desert Rose Casino while located in California, violated the UIGEA, and was not protected by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The panel further held that even if all of the “gaming activity” associated with Desert Rose Casino 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 were illegal made Iipay Nation’s decision to accept financial payments associated with those bets or wagers a violation of the UIGEA.
Because Iipay’s operation of DRB violates the UIGEA, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit AFFIRMED the district court’s order granting summary judgment to the Government.
IJI Law Comment —
However, the Court also noted the following: “[w]e take no position on whether Iipay would violate the UIGEA by accepting DRB bets or wagers exclusively from patrons located in jurisdictions where bingo is legal.” See, Footnote No. 15.