California iGaming Takes Punch with lipay Nation of Santa Ysabel RulingPublished December 27, 2016 by Elana K
Last week, California judge Anthony Battaglia shut down the online gambling of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, saying that the tribe violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.
Last week, California judge Anthony Battaglia shut down the online gambling of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, saying that the tribe violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 by trying to launch Desert Rose Bingo, a real-money online bingo site, two years ago.
The UIGEA was passed while George W. Bush was president, and it made it illegal for banks and payment processors to accept deposits and withdrawals related to online betting from players inside the U.S.
The UIGEA and IGRA
At the time of the launch of Desert Rose Bingo, the Iipay Nation Of Santa Ysabel argued that its site would be exempt from the UIGEA under the provisions of IGRA, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal law that allows sovereign tribes to generate revenue from casinos.
However, IGRA applies only to casinos located on tribal lands; the Iipay tribe thought it could get around this ruling by requiring registered players to use a “proxy” to play. In other words, real-time live bingo game action was played by a “proxy” of the web-browser enabled device user, meaning that live bingo action was never actually being performed by the user.
A loophole, yes, and one that Judge Battaglia did not buy. He wrote, “When IGRA and UIGEA are read together, it is evident that the phrase “on Indian lands” was intended to limit gaming to those patrons who participate in the gaming activity while in Indian country.” In other words, the bingo site is not covered by IGRA.
A Small Victory
On the bright side for the Iipay Nation Of Santa Ysabel, Battaglia dismissed the state’s claim that the tribe had breached its gambling compact. He ruled that if not for the UIGEA, Desert Rose Bingo would have been allowed as a Class II tribal gaming, which is legal under IGRA.