The federal government wants the Iipay Nation Native American tribe of Santa Ysabel to shut down an online gambling site where California residents over 18 years of age can log on and purchase bingo cards. The website allows players outside of the reservation to place bets in hopes of winning cash prizes.
On December 3, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy filed a complaint for a permanent injunction to close down the Desert Rose Bingo online gambling website.
This is not the first the tribe has heard complaints from state or federal attorneys about the website. In November, as reported by onlinepokercalifornia.org, state attorney general Kamala Harris asked that a court shut down the website. But Iipay Nation tribal leaders refused, arguing in a court document that the effort threatened the tribe's rights as a sovereign nation.
"In a throwback to its unsuccessful mid-1990s efforts to stymie and stifle the progress of [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act Class II] gaming, [California] once again seeks to undermine tribal sovereignty, innovation and economic initiative by seeking injunctive and declaratory relief from the court declaring that the Tribe may not conduct its legal [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act II] bingo gaming," read the tribe's memorandum and legal points filed on November 25.
Seeing the tribe was not backing down, the federal government decided to get involved. In the complaint, federal attorneys argue that in order to be legal, proceeds from lotteries or bingo games must be used for charitable purposes.
"Commencing on or about November 3, 2014, Defendants knowingly accepted, and continue to knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of other persons in unlawful Internet gambling conducted through Desert Rose Bingo,” reads the complaint.
"Relief is required to maintain the public health and safety. If Defendants are not enjoined, Defendants will likely continue to promote and facilitate unlawful Internet gambling.”