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Federal appeals court says Ho-Chunk Nation can offer video poker


MADISON, Wisconsin — A federal appeals court says the Ho-Chunk Nation can offer video poker at its Madison casino.

The state Department of Justice argued that video poker at the facility is a Class III card game and therefore prohibited under the terms of the tribe's gambling compact with the state. U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb sided with the state last June.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, however, reversed Crabb on Wednesday.

The court said the state must criminalize a gambling activity in order to prohibit the tribe from engaging in it. The court pointed out that the state downgraded possession of video poker machines in establishments that serve alcohol from a criminal to civil offense in 1999.

DOJ spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said the agency was reviewing the decision.

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