Catawbas may not offer video gambling, court rules

COLUMBIA (AP) — The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled the Catawba Indian Nation may not offer video gambling machines on its reservation.

The Catawbas had hoped the Supreme Court would uphold a 2005 circuit court ruling that said a 1993 settlement allows them to operate video poker on its reservation near Rock Hill, even though the popular games were banned statewide in 2000.

The decision likely will be appealed to federal court.

The Catawbas, the state's only federally recognized tribe, has threatened to open the video poker operation if it can't open a high-stakes bingo hall on Interstate 95 in Santee. They contend the Santee operation is needed because the state-run lottery, which began in 2002, sucked millions of dollars from its off-reservation Rock Hill bingo hall, now closed.

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