On Monday, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal of a federal court ruling that allows the Ho-Chunk Nation to offer video poker at its Madison casino.

Although Class III gaming is legal in the state of Wisconsin, the Ho-Chunk Nation’s Madison gaming casino where video poker games were installed, isn’t covered under the compact it has with the state.

The machines were ordered to be removed by Judge Barbara Crab last June. However, the decision that said the machines were considered to be in the Class III category, was reversed on April 17th by the 7th Circuit Court. Aiding the reversal was a February 2009 National Indian Gaming Commission determination that said Class III devices are beyond the scope of the state.

“A state must criminalize a gambling activity in order to prohibit the tribe from engaging in it,” Chief Judge Diane Pamela Wood wrote in the unanimous April 29 decision. “Wisconsin does not criminalize non-banked poker; it decriminalized that type of gaming in 1999.”

The tribe has until August 26, to respond to the state’s petition, according to Docket No. 15-114. After it has been submitted, the state will be able to file one more reply.

Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation, one of only two federally recognized Indian tribes in the state, currently operates six casinos in Wisconsin. In April the Nation announced they are considering a new facility that would offer a museum, sports complex or entertainment close to the tribe’s Madison casino.
Discussions with city officials as well as business owners in the area regarding how the 48 acres near the Madison casino can be utilized are ongoing.

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