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Idaho Tribe Ordered To Stop Poker Room

Coeur d’Alene Tribe Must Cease Offering Texas Hold'em


The Coeur d’Alene tribe in the state of Idaho was ordered by a federal judge on Friday to cease offering Texas hold’em poker games. The casino has a six-table room.

The judge said that the offerings violated state gambling laws, the Washington Post reported.

Judge Lynn Winmill said that poker has some elements of luck and thus could not be exempt from the tribe’s compact with the state under IGRA (the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act).

“When a poker player is dealt a hand, chance determines how good or bad that hand will be,” Winmill wrote in his decision. “There is no skill involved in that part of the game—ever.”

The governor of Idaho said in a statement:

“The legislature and the people of Idaho have made it clear what kind of gambling they will accept. That does not include poker. And no matter how much the tribe insists otherwise, Texas Hold’em is poker,” Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said.

Idaho sued the tribe back in May, shortly after the poker room opened.

Idaho said that poker is illegal within its borders and that federal laws pertaining to tribal casinos wouldn’t provide a carve out in this situation. The tribe thought otherwise.

“As the statute provides, even if the game of poker is prohibited, that prohibition does not apply if the game can be shown to be a ‘contest of skill,’" the tribe argued.

Poker is widely viewed elsewhere as a skill game, despite having elements of chance.

The tribe also noted that forms of Texas hold’em poker already exist in Idaho, such as a version of poker run through the state lottery, in addition to charity poker events.

Tags: Idaho,   Poker Business