Colusa sues state over definition of gambling machines 6-8-07

COLUSA, Calif. (AP) - The Indian tribe that owns the Colusa Casino Resort is suing state gambling regulators in federal court over the definition of a gambling machine.

The Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians wants the U.S. District Court in Sacramento to define multiscreen gambling terminals as single machines.

The move could boost income for the casino despite a state cap on the number of slots there. The tribe's compact with the state currently limits the casino to 846 slot machines.

In its lawsuit against the California Gambling Control Commission, the tribe argues that more than one gambler should be allowed to play on each of those machines.

Multiplayer slot machines feature several computer screens, all controlled by one random-number generator that determines who wins and loses. By playing simultaneously, all the players wager on the same outcome.

“Its like 10 people betting on a horse race,” said George Forman, a San Rafael attorney representing the tribe. “You've got 10 people betting, but it's only one race.”

Gambling regulators say each screen is a separate machine, which would put the Colusa casino over its limit.

This is the second time the tribe has sued the state in an effort to operate more slot machines.

The tribe sued after gambling commissioners denied its bid for 377 additional slot licenses in 2003. A federal judge dismissed the suit in May 2006, but the tribe has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.