April 10, 2014

Alturas Indian Reservation

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The Alturas Indian Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of Achomawi Indians in California. The Achomawi are also known as the Pit River Indians. The tribe controls a 20-acre (81,000 m2) reservation about one mile southeast of Alturas, California, in Modoc County.  

Alturas Rancheria Headquarters In 2005, the Alturas had five adult tribal members on its rolls, with a total enrollment of 15.

The tribe operates the Desert Rose Casino and the Rose Cafe in Alturas.  The casino has 99 slot machines.

The Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe in Northern California is expected to be the first tribe to formally launch online gaming by the end of the year (2013).

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, the federal government must approve state-tribe compacts, casino management contracts and tribal gaming ordinances. But that authority applies only to “Class III” gaming, including slot machines, other video and electronic games of chance, craps, roulette and blackjack. The tribes themselves have authority over “Class II” gaming, such as bingo, pull-tabs, lotto and punch boards. The online games that the Alturas Indian Reservation plans to launch involve Class II gambling.

The tribe has partnered with a company called Great Luck that has developed a technology open to gamblers anywhere in the country, who could play on their home computers or on mobile devices.

Great Luck, which is headed by Indians from other tribes, unveiled what it called “first tribal online bingo site in the United States” during an event in Las Vegas in September. A primitive version is available now in a “free-play” format, but it expects “real-money” games to start with its deal with the Alturas Indian Rancheria Tribe, via the host site, DesertRoseBingo.com.

Tribes that use this system are banking on VPN-like technology called “Virtual Private Network Assisted Play System” that ensures that bettors are located on reservation property virtually, rather than physically. Once players are registered and approved, they can play games via “proxy play,” in which the system connects wagers to servers located on Indian lands, “thus ensuring that all actual game play is taking place within sovereign Indian lands,” the company said.

The technology will make sure the online player is of legal age and from a state that allows Class II gaming, which most do.

The tribe has talked to state and federal authorities about its plan, said Cruz Bustamante, the former lieutenant governor of California who represents the tribe. He said the tribe hasn’t received any kind of official approval, but it hasn’t been told to stop.

“Great Luck has assembled a first-rate legal team with extensive experience in Tribal and non-Tribal gaming law, banking, and patent protection,” said Allison Clear Fastowof Blue Engine Media, on behalf of Great Luck. “Our customers can feel confident that they are participating in a legal gaming experience,” she said.

Great Luck is headed by Joseph Valandra, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, and J R Mathews, a member of the Quapaw and Seneca/Cayuga Tribes of Oklahoma.

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