United States v. Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska

324 F.3d 607 (2003)

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United States v. Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
324 F.3d 607 (2003)

Facts

The United States (government) (plaintiff) brought suit seeking an injunction to stop the Santee Sioux Tribe (tribe) (defendant) from operating illegal class III gaming machines at its casino. The court ordered the tribe to shut down all class III gaming activity. The tribe failed to comply with the order, and the court found the tribe in contempt. The tribe replaced the class III gaming devices with the Lucky Tab II, an electronic pull-tab dispenser that scanned encrypted barcodes on each paper pull-tab and announced the tab as a winner or loser on an animated screen. Although the machine looked like a slot machine, it did not distribute winnings and dispensed paper tabs to individual players, who could verify their contents or take them to a cashier to collect their winnings. The government maintained that the Lucky Tab II was a prohibited class III electronic facsimile of the traditional pull-tab game. The tribe disagreed, pointing out that the machines merely assisted operations of the traditional pull-tabs game. The tribe filed a motion for relief from the contempt order, which the district court granted, finding that the Lucky Tab II machine was a permissible class II aid because it did not decide the outcome of the game, operate independently of the paper pull-tabs, compete against those playing the game, or distribute winnings. The government appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Beam, J.)

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