Articles Posted in Gaming Law

by
Moody, engaged in harness racing, is the horse trainer of record for his family farm. The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) suspended Moody’s father, John, in 2010. John publicly criticized and sued the MGCB. An anonymous email led to MGCB’s investigation into whether Moody was only a “paper trainer” for John. When Moody attempted to apply for 2013 licensing, he was disqualified. In January 2013, a consent order was prepared that would have allowed Moody to begin participating in racing in March 2013, but it required Moody to agree not to take legal action against MGCB. Moody did not sign the order; he remained disqualified for six months. In September 2013, Moody was told that he could apply for licensure without any conditions. The ALJ dismissed the case. In 2015, Moody filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging First Amendment retaliation in his disqualification due to his father’s lawsuit, and that he had been deprived of liberty and property interests in his right to engage in harness-racing. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal. MGCB was protected by Eleventh Amendment immunity; neither MGCB nor the individual defendants in their official capacities were “persons” subject to suit under Section 1983. Moody lacked third-party standing for a First Amendment claim because failed to show a hindrance to his father’s ability to protect his own rights. Moody did not have a liberty interest in his license and was not deprived of procedural due process. View "Moody v. Michigan Gaming Control Board" on Justia Law

by
The federally recognized Indian Tribe is a successor to an 1864 Treaty between the United States and the Chippewa Indians, including an agreement by the United States to set aside property in Isabella County, Michigan as a reservation. The Treaty did not mention application of federal regulations to members of the Tribe or to the Tribe itself. The property reserved for the “exclusive use, ownership, and occupancy” of the Tribe became the Isabella Reservation. The Tribe has over 3,000 members, and is governed by an elected council. In 1993, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Tribe and the state entered a compact, approved by the United States, allowing the Tribe to conduct gaming on the Isabella reservation. The Tribe opened the Casino; enacted a gaming code with licensing criteria for employees; and created a regulatory body. The council hires all Casino management-level employees, approves contracts, and decides how to distribute revenue. Of the Casino’s 3,000 employees, 7% are Tribe members, as are 30% of management-level employees. The Casino generates $250 million in gross annual revenues and attracts 20,000 customers per year, many of whom are not Tribe members. The Tribe discharged Lewis for violating an employee handbook policy that prohibited solicitation by employees, including solicitation related to union activities, on Casino property. The NLRB found that the policy violated the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151. The Sixth Circuit affirmed and enforced the order, finding that the NLRB has jurisdiction over the Casino’s employment practices. View "Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd." on Justia Law

by
The Tribe bought land from the City of Lansing to build a class III gaming facility, using funds appropriated by Congress for the benefit of certain Michigan tribes. The Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act provides that land acquired with the income on these funds shall be held in trust by the federal government. Michigan obtained an injunction to prevent the Tribe from applying to have land taken into trust by the Secretary of the Interior, on the ground that the submission would violate a compact between the state and the Tribe. That compact requires that a tribe seeking to have land taken into trust for gaming purposes under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), 25 U.S.C. 2703(4)(B), secure a revenue-sharing agreement with other tribes. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The state did not seek to enjoin a class III gaming activity, but instead a trust submission under MILCSA, so IGRA does not abrogate the Tribe’s sovereign immunity, and the district court lacked jurisdiction. The issue of whether class III gaming on the property at issue will violate IGRA if the Tribe’s MILCSA trust submission is successful is not ripe. View "Michigan v. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe" on Justia Law

by
A “millionaire party” involves betting on games of chance customarily associated with a gambling casino, using imitation money or chips that have a nominal value equal to or greater than the value of the currency for which they can be exchanged, Mich. Comp. Laws 432.103a(8). Millionaire-party licenses may be issued to a “qualified organization” for up to four consecutive days at a single location. Proceeds from a millionaire party, less “reasonable” expenses incurred to operate the event, must be “devoted exclusively” to the charitable purposes of the licensee. Following denial of licenses for millionaire parties to be held at adult businesses, plaintiffs sued, alleging violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and that they were deprived of their constitutionally protected status as an “approved lessor” for millionaire parties without due process of law. They claim that the state adopted a blanket policy of denying all such applications in retaliation for Plaintiffs’ exercising their First Amendment rights. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that plaintiffs’ allegations concerning retaliation must be accepted as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss, but that being an “approved lessor” is not a protected entitlement. View "Top Flight Entm't, Ltd. v. Schuette" on Justia Law

by
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows “Class III gaming activities” (casino gaming) on Indian lands (25 U.S.C. 2710(d)) if the tribe adopts a gaming ordinance approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission and negotiates a “Tribal-State compact.” Bay Mills is a recognized tribe with a reservation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In 1993, the tribe entered a compact with Michigan. The Gaming Commission approved its gaming ordinance. Bay Mills began operating a casino on its reservation in Chippewa County. In 1997, Congress passed the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, which directed Bay Mills to deposit a portion of its settlement funds into a land trust, with earnings to be used for improvements on or acquisition of tribal land; land so acquired “shall be held as Indian lands.” In 2010, Bay Mills used trust earnings to purchase 40 acres in Vanderbilt, more than 100 miles from its reservation, then constructed a small casino on the property (38 electronic machines, expanded to 84). Michigan and another tribe sued, claiming violations of the compact and state law. The district court enjoined Bay Mills from operating the Vanderbilt casino. The Sixth Circuit vacated the injunction. The district court lacked jurisdiction over some claims and tribal sovereign immunity bars others. View "State of MI v. Bay Mills Indian Cmty" on Justia Law

by
Ondricko had been working in the gaming industry since 1994 and began working for MGM in 2003. MGM promoted Ondricko to floor supervisor in 2005. As a floor supervisor, she was responsible for supervising dealers at as many as six gaming tables in an area referred to as a “pit.” MGM claims it fired Ondricko because she participated in a “bad shuffle” at a blackjack table she was supervising. At least six other supervisors had engaged in misconduct related to shuffle procedures. Only two were terminated. She sued for race and gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, M.C.L.37.2101. The district court found that Ondricko admitted the employment misconduct that resulted in her termination and that she had not shown disparate treatment of similarly situated comparators. The Sixth Circuit reversed, finding that the misconduct was insufficient to justify termination and that Ondricko had established disparate treatment of male comparators. View "Ondricko v. MGM Grand Detroit, LLC" on Justia Law

by
In 1986, the Association signed an agreement with Beulah Park governing racing operations; later, they amended to establish a regular process in which the Association periodically would grant or withhold consent to simulcast races to betting facilities outside of Ohio. In 1996, the Association executed a similar agreement with River Downs. Under the agreements, when Beulah Park and River Downs want to simulcast races to out-of-state betting facilities, they send a letter to the Association outlining the terms of the proposed simulcast and requesting authorization. After the Association withheld consent to 2006 requests, Beulah Park and River Downs filed a complaint with the Ohio Racing Commission. The Racing Commission ruled in favor of the race parks. The Association sued, arguing that the federal Interstate Horseracing Act, 15 U.S.C. 3004(a) preempted the Ohio law. The district court agreed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, stating that "To respect the state law is to slight the federal one."