Expect appeals regardless of the result of a federal judge’s ruling in Idaho about a Coeur d’Alene card room. After asking the parties to arbitrate, Judge Winmill has issued an injunction closing the Texas Hold’em poker room. The full legal opinion may be viewed in this Spokane, Washington newspaper’s archives in PDF format. If the link changes please let us know and we will provide a link to a legal watchdog site.

The seeming backtracking of the judge, who refused to rule on the issue previously, is attributable to the Tribe’s refusal to instigate arbitration on their gambling compact with the state. According to their legal team, the onus is on the offended party to bring arbitration. However, the judge simply seemed annoyed by the fact that the room stayed open pending anything short of litigation. This is not the first time an Idaho Indian Tribe has appeared before this judge, nor will it be the last.

The Idaho compact has been under constant scrutiny for years. Lobbyist, Larry Echohawk has done them no favors as his position as General Authority for the Mormon church has not lent any credibility to his positions for or against efforts by any Indian Tribe to establish gambling rights under the compact in Idaho. Readers are welcome to do their own research into his affiliations, history, and potential to intervene in this case, behind the scenes or as a litigator.

Judge Winmill’s decision potentially  places the Santa Ysabel Indians online poker offering in jeopardy as well. Both venues operate under the 9th circuit court of appeals, with San Francisco leaning  judges presiding in the majority, so it is possibly a matter of years, or depending upon court pressures, months before the issue is settled.

Gambling happens in Idaho, from county fair parimutuel horse races and lottery tickets to “Historical Racing Machines” at Les Bois Park and at Indian casinos. What is the harm in allowing absolute no limit poker next to Spokane? A federal judge will decide, and we do not expect the decision to favor the Tribe. But stranger things have happened in his court.

Editor’s Note I: The Idaho Lottery Commission powered by GTECH was in lead position legally and instigated the closing of the game of skill and luck in Idaho.

Editor’s Note II: This story originally ran in 2014 as an “opinion blog with news value” and has since joined our news archive.

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