John Mehaffey

The State of California’s Attorney General has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to block online bingo offered by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel.  While no specific website is mentioned in the lawsuit, is operated by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. launched on November 3, 2014.  The lawsuit was filed on November 18, 2014.

The Statement of the Case begins:

This action seeks appropriate injunctive relief to prevent unlawful Internet gambling; Defendant Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, also known as Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians (Tribe), has begun to offer a facsimile of bingo over the Internet to bettors, who are not located on the Tribe’s Indian lands. In addition to violating state and federal law, the Tribe’s conduct materially breaches the tribal-state class III gaming compact (Compact) between the Tribe. and the State.

The State of California asserts that real money online bingo is “an imminent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare” of its residents.  It seeks “orders temporarily restraining, and permanently enjoining, the Tribe’s offering and conducting Internet gambling in breach of the Compact and in violation of state and federal law”.

The State also asks the court to declare that the real money online bingo game spread by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel breaches its gaming compact.

The 14-page lawsuit cites the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 15 times.  The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is mentioned 25 times.

California mailed a letter to the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel on July 14, 2014 in an attempt to hold a meeting about real money online gambling plans that were announced in the media, according to the lawsuit.  A response dated July 17, 2014 stated that the plans only included online poker, not online bingo.  “The Tribe advised that it had no intention of discussing with the State any federal statutes, including IGRA and the UIGEA”, according to court documents.

According to a July press release, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel “is exerting its sovereign right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGA) to regulate and conduct Class II gaming from the tribe’s reservation”.

The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case will be heard by Judge Anthony J. Battaglia on December 4, 2014 at 2pm in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Lawsuit documents were first published by Turtletalk.


John Mehaffey
John Mehaffey - John is a writer for multiple online poker publications and is the author of the popular Online Poker Payment Processing Report. Read more from John by following @John_Mehaffey on Twitter.