- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The state Attorney General’s Office filed a petition Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that it review a recent federal appeals court decision that granted the Ho-Chunk Nation the right to offer video poker at its Madison casino.

In its decision in April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, based in Chicago, overruled a decision by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb and said that the Ho-Chunk can offer the game because Wisconsin has not criminalized non-banked poker — in which players play against each other — for everyone in the state.

In their submission to the Supreme Court, Attorney General Brad Schimel and Assistant Attorney General Clayton Kawski asked that the court hear the case because they said it represents an issue that will occur time and again in tribal gaming cases until resolved by the court. The decision by the Seventh Circuit also conflicts with a recent Ninth Circuit decision in the approach taken to interpreting the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which the Supreme Court could resolve, they wrote.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the Ho-Chunk must stop offering video poker because it violated the terms of the tribe’s gambling compact with the state. She said the game is a Class III card game, as defined by the IGRA, that is prohibited by the compact.

The tribe maintains that video poker is a Class II game because it is not banked by the house. In Class III games, players bet against the house or the machine they are playing on.

But the Seventh Circuit wrote that because Wisconsin doesn’t criminalize non-banked poker, it can’t stop the tribe from offering the game.


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