Judge Orders Halt to CdA Casino Poker Tournaments, Tribe Vows to Appeal Decision

by

A U.S. district judge has put a stop to Texas Hold 'Em tournaments at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, prompting the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to prepare for an emergency appeal against the decision, the Spokesman-Review reports. 

In May, the state of Idaho filed suit against the tribe, saying Texas Hold 'Em is a game of chance that violates Idaho law. The tribe asked Judge B. Lynn Winmill to dismiss the case, arguing that Texas Hold 'Em is a game of skill, not chance; but the state argued otherwise, asking for an injunction to put a stop to tournaments at the casino. Winmill told both the state and the tribe that they could either go into litigation or arbitration to solve the dispute, as per the state-tribal gaming compact. Winmill wrote in his ruling that the tribe had chosen to litigate the matter, and sided with the state, issuing an injunction Sept. 5.

“The Tribe believes it has the right to offer the poker tournaments and apparently will continue to do so absent an injunction. These poker tournaments violate Idaho gambling law. The upshot is that unless an injunction issues, the State will be left without any effective remedy," Winmill wrote in his 24-page decision.

The day of Winmill's decision, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe issued a statement that it would plan to make an emergency appeal, saying that the court misunderstood the tribe's course of action in the case—that the tribe had not decided against arbitrating the dispute with the state, nor had it chosen to litigate.

“We still believe that we have valid legal arguments under federal law for offering poker at our casino and the court’s decision did not fully consider some of those arguments,” tribal attorney Eric Van Orden told the Spokesman-Review.