Supreme Court voids decision that favored Minnesota tribe in gambling case

Monday, December 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court erased a ruling in favor of an Indian tribe Monday, following up on its decision that some tribal gaming can be taxed.

An appeals court had said that the Internal Revenue Service was wrong to force the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux to pay $174,000 in excise taxes for pull-tab games run on the tribe's Minnesota reservation from 1986 to 1992.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that federal taxes can be collected on lotteries and similar games. That case involved the Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, which contended that the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was unclear on whether lottery cards can be taxed.

Lawyers for Little Six Inc., which runs the Minnesota operation, said the taxes involve minor amounts of money and ``their imposition on tribal governments was only an afterthought of the IRS, arrived at over 10 years after the tribes had begun to conduct pull-tab games.''

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled in favor of Little Six.

States are exempt from paying federal excise taxes on wagers, but justices ruled that the exemption did not carry over to tribal gaming.

The cases are U.S. v. Little Six Inc., 00-1115 and Chickasaw Nation v. U.S., 00-507.