The state of Wisconsin asked a federal judge Tuesday to step into its case against Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, the former Dejope Bingo Hall that got into trouble for offering electronic poker.
An independent arbitrator ruled last month the gambling facility should no longer offer electronic poker, a move state officials hoped would bring to an end a dispute between the tribe and the state that started more than 18 months ago.
At the time of the ruling, the Department of Administration said the decision was immediately effective and enforceable, but spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said officials with the Wisconsin Division of Gaming were talking with the Ho-Chunk Nation about the "timing of ceasing the operation of the games."
Neither Webster nor officials with the Ho-Chunk Nation immediately returned calls Tuesday, but the filing in U.S. District Court suggests negotiations may have broken down.
According to the documents, the state argues the arbitrator made the correct decision and alleges Ho-Chunk Gaming has continued to operate its poker machines despite the arbitrator's ruling.
A compact between the state and the tribe calls for each to abide by an arbitrator's decision, the state argues.
The state goes on to ask the judge to "confirm" the award and order the facility to "immediately cease operation of such machines."
The state and the tribe agreed in January 2011 to let a third party settle the dispute over Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison and whether it should be allowed to offer electronic poker tables. Since late 2010, the facility has offered eight electronic poker tables, with room for 10 players at each table.
Dane County voters in 2004 rejected a referendum that would have allowed expanded, casino-style gambling at the location, which is on tribal trust land at 4402 Evans Acres Road on the Southeast Side near Interstate 39-90 and the Beltline.
The arbitrator had to decide whether electronic poker was a non-casino-type Class II game or a more tightly regulated Class III game, which is not allowed at a Class II facility like Ho-Chunk Madison.