Another political and legal fight may be brewing between the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the State of Idaho - this one, over poker. The tribe plans to add poker to its attractions at the Worley casino, even though state officials say it would clearly be illegal under state law. The move might also violate the tribe's 1992 agreement with the state, and federal regulations to boot.
But Coeur d'Alene Casino CEO Dave Matheson indicated that he plans to open a Casino Poker Room this spring.
Tribal and casino leaders believe they must offer poker to stay competitive with casinos across the border in Washington which offer the game. Coeur d'Alene tribe legislative leader Helo Hancock said poker will be played under federal regulations, and not subject to state oversight or the state gaming compact.
The director of Idaho's Lottery Commission has sent a complaint to the National Indian Gaming commission and to the U.S. Attorney's office in Boise, but so far, neither office has responded.
The tribe's move follows recent approval by the state for horse racing gaming machines at the Greyhound Park in Post Falls.