In the escalating drama of Minnesota’s casino wars, the Columbus-based establishment Running Aces has *raised the stakes* by expanding its legal battlefront. With a discerning eye on its competitors, Running Aces has dealt two more of Minnesota’s gaming giants—Mystic Lake and Little Six Casinos—into a high-stakes federal racketeering lawsuit that asserts these tribal operators are engaging in the *allegedly illicit shuffle* of unauthorized card games.

At the heart of the dispute is the claim that these casinos are flouting the rules by offering class III card games like Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, which, according to Running Aces, fall outside the bounds of their tribal-state gaming compacts. The home turf of these latest additions, Mystic Lake and Little Six, is overseen by the robust Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), who now find themselves cast alongside the Grand Casinos and Treasure Island Resort in this *potential house of cards*.

Taro Ito, the president and CEO of Running Aces, stands firmly at the helm of this legal challenge. To him, this is not just a gamble, but a quest for fairness—a desire to *ante up* against titanic tribal interests that he believes are manipulating the game to their favor. Despite the fiery opposition that brands his move as merely a bluff—a desperate “stunt” aimed at swaying public opinion and legislature’s hand—Ito espouses only a longing for *equitable play* within the regulatory maze of Minnesota’s gaming landscape.

This amended lawsuit contends that the five casinos in question are overstepping the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by not only offering these contentious card games but by engaging in “video games of chance” like slot machines. While the state of Minnesota has allowed such games within tribal compacts—ironically forged without the hindsight to exact revenue-sharing conditions—it concurrently upholds a criminal code that prohibits these electronic excursions into chance for any other entity. A point of contention Running Aces is quick to play, having themselves faced opposition when they sought to modestly expand their game offerings.

Caught in the crossfire of this confrontation are the intricate webs of state and federal laws, tribal rights, and business interests. But it’s more than a legal skirmish—it’s a narrative of power, equity, and the *high-roller* risks inherent in Minnesota’s gaming scene. Running Aces demands its day in court, seeking to lay all cards on the table and let the cold hard facts call the hand. Meanwhile, the SMSC maintains a resolute poker face, dismissing the claims as empty gambits that withhold no merit. They accuse Running Aces of orchestrating a sly maneuver to derail legislation that may deliver a sports betting monopoly into tribal hands.

The dice continue to tumble in this legal craps game of chance, skill, and strategy as all involved await the next move. Where the chips will fall is anyone’s bet, but one thing is certain—this tale of Minnesota’s casino landscape *has not yet seen its final hand played*.

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Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson, a Senior Editor and respected voice in iGaming and sports, brings over a decade of journalism experience with a focus on digital gaming and cryptocurrency. Starting in sports analysis, he now leads a team of writers, delivering insightful and advanced content in the dynamic world of online gaming. An avid gamer and crypto-enthusiast, Mark's unique perspective enriches his professional analysis. He's also a regular speaker at industry conferences, sharing his views on the future of iGaming and digital finance. Follow his latest articles and insights on social media.


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