MADISON, Wis., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Wisconsin and the Ho-Chunk Indian tribe are in a dispute over the legality of electronic poker tables at the tribe's bingo hall in Madison, authorities said.
While the state says the poker games are akin to prohibited casino games such as blackjack and slots, the tribe says the games are legal because the players bet against each other rather than the house or the machine as in traditional casino poker, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Monday.
"It's a new venue that we've offered to our customers, and it's the legal way of playing poker," Carole Laustrup, executive manager at the tribe's Dejope Gaming bingo hall, said.
The state and the tribe have agreed to settle the dispute through binding arbitration, Steve Knudson of the state Department of Administration's gaming division said.
At issue will be whether the electronic poker tables are considered allowable "Class II" games or "Class III" games that would be prohibited in a facility like Dejope, which classified Class II because it isn't a casino.
In February 2004, county voters rejected a referendum that would have allowed expanded, casino-style gambling at Dejope.
Dejope's eight electronic poker tables are set off in a separate room from the hall's 1,100 electronic bingo machines, Laustrup said.
"People are enjoying it and seem to be having a good time," she said. "I was just really looking for another (game) we could offer our guests, while staying legal as a Class II facility."