The Coeur d'Alene tribe is celebrating a victory with a US district court ruling concerning a poker game offered at their Worley, Idaho casino, but it’s still uncertain how the issue will be resolved. Last week, Chief Judge B Lynn Winmill ruled that the Coeur d'Alene tribe was correct in it’s read of the 1992 gaming compact between it and the State of Idaho.
The State had filed an injunction to stop the tribe from allowing “Texas Hold 'Em” style poker at the Worley casino. But the judge ruled against that move. Tribal spokeswoman Heather Keen says with the threat of an injunction removed, the actual lawsuit filed by the state is on hold for 60 days.
Although the compact allows for arbitration between the state and tribe, Keen says it’s not likely the tribe will make the first move to make that happen.
Keen: “It’s our understanding under the gaming compact that it would be the aggrieved party who would invoke dispute resolution, and we’ve been looking at poker for a few years now, and we believe we are on solid ground. And again it’ says it up the aggrieved party to invoke it, and I’m not sure if it would make sense for us to do it, because we believe we have a strong legal argument to do what we are doing.”
Meanwhile the State is disappointed with the courts ruling. Governor Butch Otter issued a statement saying:
“The state of Idaho remains committed to enforcing the rule of law that limits gambling in tribal casinos to clearly approved games – and poker isn’t one of them.”