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Indian tribe gets into Internet gambling: But is it legal?

The Super 6
The Super 6 game   
January 21, 1998
Web posted at: 5:41 a.m. EST (1041 GMT)

WORLEY, Idaho (CNN) -- Members of the Coeur d'Alene tribe hope their newest endeavor will bring them riches from across the United States and all over the world through the Internet.

The tribe has planned an Internet lottery -- but some say those plans are not legal.

The Coeur d'Alene tribe came up with the Internet lottery idea as an outgrowth of its casino business, which appears to have topped-out.

The casino, which has been open for about five years, brought in $10 million last year. The tribe expects to double that income if the Internet lottery works as planned.

Dave Matheson   

"This revenue we're going to earn will buy back some of our lands that were wrongly taken from us," said tribal spokesman Dave Matheson. "We're going to educate our children. We're going to try to take care of our elderly and our needy."

The tribe's plans are at odds with the attorneys general of 33 states -- who want to put a stop to all Internet gambling.

"We think it's a violation of federal law, and a violation of California state law. The question is, can it be enforced?" said Dan Lungren, California's attorney general.

Dan Lungren   

Lungren said Internet gambling could undercut legal gambling enterprises.

And, U.S. Senator John Kyle is pushing a bill in Congress that would order police to shut down any Internet service provides that allow any kind of gambling.

Meanwhile, the tribe claims its status as a sovereign nation protects it from such laws.

"We have the inherent governmental power to conduct a lottery, just like a state government does in the United States today," Matheson said. "However, we think the real issue is competition. "

Correspondent Don Knapp contributed to this report.


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