Yaqui sues to close new Tucson poker room
August 25, 2008
TUCSON - The Pascua Yaqui Tribe filed suit last week against Club Royale, a new
poker club on the north side of Tucson. The lawsuit alleges illegal gambling and
seeks to close the club.
The Club Royale opened July 25th in a 3,500-square-foot facility located at 2665
N. Campbell Ave. Is operates daily from 4pm to 4am.
The lawsuit claims the Club Royale violates state gambling laws and interferes
with business at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe's two casinos, Casino del Sol and Casino
of the Sun.
"Basically, we want to shut them down based on the fact that it's illegal
gambling in the state of Arizona," said Luis Ochoa, an attorney at Quarles &
Brady representing the tribe.
Kimberly Van Amburg, a tribal legal spokesperson, said "From our standpoint, we
shouldn't have to file this lawsuit. The people who are responsible for this is
the Office of the Attorney General, not the Pascua Yaqui Tribe."
Van Amburg said attendance at the poker room at Casino del Sol has declined in
the past few weeks but did not say by how much. "Speaking with our director of
poker and the poker supervisors, a lot of the regular poker players disappeared
at around the time this card room opened," Van Amburg said.
Arizona law allows gambling outside of casinos if no one other than those
gambling benefit from the game. The Yaqui’s suits claims Club Royale is
operating as a business, and as such, it "does not meet the limited statutory
definitions of amusement, regulated and social gambling."
Van Amburg added, "If it is determined that gambling is allowed in the state,
that should be considered illegal. Then the tribes - not just this tribe - could
take the stance that they're not just limited to what's in the gaming compact.
It could be like Las Vegas, with slot machines in the Circle K's."
Van Amburg continued, "If there is a determination that this is illegal, and
it's being allowed, the tribes could suspend making those payments. That's a
huge amount of money. It just seems to me that the state would be interested in
taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen."
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