On Wednesday April 29th, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Ho-Chunk Nation has the right to offer video poker gaming at their Madison Wisconsin gaming facility. The tribe had installed video poker games at the Madison property and was under fire from authorities after they were found to be operating these games without having seeming to have authorization under their Class III gaming compact with the state.
Last summer, the tribe was ordered to remove the video poker machines by Judge Barbara Crabb as they have a Class III category compact with the state. However, the 7th Circuit Court has now reversed the ruling based on an opinion from 2009 in which the National Indian Gaming Commission found the games fall under a Class II classification.
Chief Judge Diane Pamela Wood of the 7th Circuit found that the state cannot criminalize the tribe for offering gaming that is considered to be non-banked poker. The state ruled video gaming to be so back in 1999. Based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Wood stated that tribe has the right to offer Class II poker on their tribal lands. Despite the ruling, the state does have the option to ask the court to rehear the case or move on to the United States Supreme Court.