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Electronic poker continues at Madison-area Indian casino


MADISON (WSAU)  Electronic poker will continue to be played at the Ho-Chunk Indian casino in Madison. State officials went to court after an independent arbitrator ruled that the games were not legal – and the tribe kept playing them anyway. But Judge Barbara Crabb said yesterday that the arbitrator exceeded his authority and did not have the power to ban the electronic poker.

The Madison casino is different from the state’s other tribal gaming houses. It’s a Class-Two casino, which only allows games of chance like bingo – while it prohibits more tightly regulated Class-Three games like blackjack and slot machines that favor the house. The state argued that its gaming agreement with the Ho-Chunk requires that the tribe abide by the arbitrator’s decision. Eight electronic poker tables have been provided since late 2010 at what used to be known as the DeJope Bingo Hall.

The state can appeal the ruling in a federal appellate court – but the Justice Department has not decided whether it will do so.