A federal judge ruled Friday that a tribal casino in northern Idaho had to stop offering Texas Hold’em, saying it violated the state’s gambling laws.
The Coeur d’Alene tribe’s casino in Worely, Idaho, must stop offering Texas Hold’em, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill said, despite the tribe’s argument that it is a “bona fide contest of skill” and therefore exempt from the tribe’s agreements with the state under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Gov. Butch Otter’s (R) office said in a statement. Winmill ruled that the game contained elements of chance, making it illegal in the state.
“When a poker player is dealt a hand, chance determines how good or bad that hand will be,” Winmill wrote in his decision. “There is no skill involved in that part of the game — ever.”
A spokesman for the Coeur d’Alene Casino did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The legislature and the people of Idaho have made it clear what kind of gambling they will accept,” Otter said in a statement. “That does not include poker. And no matter how much the Tribe insists otherwise, Texas Hold’em is poker.”