By Cody Wilson
“[A]t gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.” Native American tribes should keep those words in mind following the decision issued by the Unites States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in State of California v. Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. In that case, the Ninth Circuit addressed an issue of first impression, holding that tribal sovereignty does not permit a tribe to offer online bingo to patrons located in a state where betting on bingo is illegal. This note exposes the court’s holding, while correct, to be a result of the tribe’s “bad play” rather than bad luck. Bingo is simply the wrong game for what the tribe hoped to accomplish. Indeed, the court’s analysis tacitly affirmed the existence of a statutory loophole that allows all Native American tribes to offer pay-to-play fantasy sports (fantasy sports) to patrons across the United States, regardless of state law.
Cody Wilson, Note, Tribal Sovereignty and Online Gaming: Fantasy Sports Offer Tribes What Other Games Do Not, 72 SMU L. Rev. 351 (2019)