Articles Posted in Gaming Law

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The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) (the Tribe) decided to pursue gaming pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) on its trust lands in Dukes County, Massachusetts (the Settlement Lands). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Town of Aquinnah, and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association (collectively, Appellees) argued that any gaming on the Settlement Lands should be subject to state, rather than federal, laws and regulations. The district court granted summary judgment for Appellees, ruling that the Settlement Lands were not covered by IGRA and hence were subject to the Commonwealth’s gaming regulations. The court found that the Tribe had failed to exercise sufficient governmental power over those lands, as required for IGRA to apply, and even if the Tribe had exercised sufficient governmental power the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head, Inc., Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1987 (the Federal Act), which provides that the Settlement Lands are subject to state laws and regulations, governed. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) IGRA applies to the Settlement Lands; and (2) the Federal Act has been impliedly repealed by IGRA in relevant part. View "Commonwealth v. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs held licenses from the Puerto Rico Treasury Department (Treasury) authorizing them to own and operate “adult entertainment machines” (AEMs). Special Treasury task-force agents later seized AEMs belonging to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sued Defendants, the parties supposedly responsible for damages, in a federal district court under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the inspections and confiscations of the AEMs violated their constitutional rights. Plaintiffs also asserted supplemental local-law claims mirroring their federal-law claims. The court granted Defendants summary judgment on the federal law claims and relinquished jurisdiction over the local-law claims. The First Circuit (1) vacated the summary judgment on the search-and-seizure and local-law claims, holding that the case must be remanded so the district court can address timing and scope matters in the qualified-immunity context; and (2) affirmed in all other respects. View "Rivera-Corraliza v. Puig-Morales" on Justia Law

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Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, LLC (SSR) applied for a license to place a casino in certain areas of Massachusetts. Caesars Entertainment Corporation and three Massachusetts affiliates (collectively, Caesars) were the proposed operators of the casino. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued an investigatory report concluding that Caesars was unsuitable as an operator, which caused Caesars to accede to SSR’s request that it withdraw from their contractual relationship. Caesars brought this action under 28 U.S.C. 1983 against certain Commission officials in their individual and official capacities and also brought a state law claim subject to supplemental jurisdiction. The district court dismissed the federal claims under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) as beyond the scope of federal affordable relief and dismissed the state law claim as standing alone. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) because Caesars alleged no cognizable protected property interest, its Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process claims were correctly dismissed for failure to state a claim; and (2) Caesars’ class-of-one Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim could not be recognized against a state actor given the breadth of discretion provided by the Massachusetts casino licensing statute. View "Caesars Mass. Dev. Co., LLC v. Crosby" on Justia Law

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Defendants worked for Sports Off Shore (SOS), a gambling business based in Antigua. After a jury trial, Defendants were convicted of violations of the Wire Act and other offenses for conducting an illegal gambling business. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions and sentences, holding, as regarding Defendants’ common challenges to their convictions, that (1) the district court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on the safe harbor provision of the Wire Act; (2) Defendants’ challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence failed because the Wire Act applies to the internet; (3) Defendants could be convicted of violating the Wire Act despite their ignorance of the law; (4) Defendants’ convictions were not an improper extraterritorial application of the Wire Act; (5) there was sufficient evidence to convict Defendants even though SOS accepted bets on forms of gambling not covered by the Wire Act; and (6) the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence a directory of all SOS employees. View "United States v. Lyons" on Justia Law

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The federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C. 2701-2721, establishes a cooperative federal-state-tribal regime for regulating gaming by federally recognized Indian tribes on Indian lands. The Massachusetts Gaming Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 23K, sect. 3(a), establishes a licensing scheme and other standards for gaming. KG, a potential applicant for a gaming license, argued that the state Act provides unauthorized preferences to Indian tribes and on that basis treats the southeast section of the state differently, and this constitutes a classification on the basis of race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and is inconsistent with congressional intent in the federal Indian gaming statute. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit vacated with respect to the equal protection claim and otherwise affirmed. Whether the tribal provisions are "authorized" by the IGRA such that is subject to only rational basis review is far from clear, presents a difficult question of statutory interpretation, and implicates a practice of the Secretary of the Interior not challenged in this suit. There is apparently no judicial authority addressing the question of whether a state may negotiate a tribal-state compact with a federally recognized tribe that does not presently possess Indian lands. View "KG Urban Enters., LLC v. Patrick" on Justia Law

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Defendants were convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy or both, and other federal crimes, incident to years of participation in a criminal organization responsible for a large illegal gambling operation. The charged conduct involved sports betting, "football cards," and video poker that spawned criminal support activities such as money laundering, usurious lending, and extortionate collection of credit. The three male defendants also sought to burn down a business. Before trial, defendants jointly moved to suppress evidence obtained through a series of wiretaps. The district court denied the motion. All defendants were convicted of nearly all of the charges, and were sentenced to terms of 271 months, 216 months, 183 months, and (the female) 21 months. The First Circuit affirmed, rejecting various challenges, including challenges to the wiretaps, and stating that there was no chance that innocent defendants were convicted. View "United States v. Albertelli" on Justia Law