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Judge Rules Indian Gaming Violates No Laws

A federal judge ruled today that California´s Indian gambling law violates no federal law – even though it gives tribes a monopoly to operate casinos.

Four Bay Area card clubs last year challenged Proposition 1-A, a statewide initiative passed in March 2000 that amended the state´s Constitution to permit tribes to operate casinos on their reservations. The card clubs say the expansion of tribal casinos in recent years has hurt their business because they can´t compete with the Las Vegas-style operations. They say they are fighting for their survival with the court challenges.

U.S. District Judge David Levi agrees the card rooms have been harmed. But he rules that the state is within its rights under federal law to grant tribes special privileges in part because legally they are sovereign nations. The card rooms argued unsuccessfully – that because Nevada-style gaming is illegal under state law, California must either shut down tribal casinos or allow other casinos to engage in Nevada-style gaming as well.