Gambling has been a source of political and social controversy for quite some time now, and it would seem that the controversial nature of the activity is still alive and well. In the state of Wisconsin, a federal judge has recently ruled that the Ho-Chunk Nation – a Native American tribe running a casino near the city of Madison – must remove all video poker games from their establishment.
The judge claimed that the games, called PokerPro, violated an agreement with the state. The nature of the agreement states that a type of game categorized as Class III games are not permitted by the state. While the law is clear on the Class III ban of games, the specific categorization of the games is a bit of a grey area. The PokerPro games in question are virtually the exact same game set-up as a poker game played with physical decks of cards. Players only bet against one another – not the house – and they play in real time within the casino’s walls. The only difference is that instead of being played with a physical deck, it’s played with a virtual dealer on a computer screen.
The controversial ruling is one that many have found to be irrational and overly harsh. It’s a ruling that some feel the federal judge in question, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb, has made by abusing the system and her power. Those who oppose the ruling have expressed that she twisted wording of an amendment, which is notoriously vague in its language, to the state’s legislation to make the decision. Others feel that the law as written is one that has not yet allowed itself to catch up to the modern technologic systems that allow casinos to function efficiently.
There are also those who have a larger concern in mind. The concern is that if this ruling is able to be made based on a vaguely worded amendment to the law, how far can that breach of power reach? Will other casinos soon have to worry about similar rulings, and what else will the law be able to get away with mandating?