A private Tucson, Arizona poker club whose opening served as a challenge to that state's gambling regulations has agreed to close in the face of legal pressure. Club Royale, opened by former judge Harold Lee and Donna and Johnny Ray Rogers, agreed to shutter its doors to resolve a civil suit brought by Arizona's Pascua Yaqui nation. The Pasqui Yaqui operate two of the four state compact-regulated casinos in the Tucson area.
The battle featured the viewpoints of the outspoken and maverick Lee against the state and the tribes, who insisted that they had the exclusive legal right to spread poker in Arizona, which in total offers 22 casinos run by 15 different tribal nations. Among the poker wrinkles at Lee's club was its spreading of no-limit hold'em, forbidden under the 1993 Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compact, which governs the tribal casinos.
The Club Royale battle also developed into a rift between the Rogers, who retained their own representation in the matter, and Lee, who vowed to continue his fight to offer poker in Arizona. By closing the club, which ran under the auspices of the International Card and Game Players Association (ICGPA), a group founded by Lee, the Rogers will not have to pay any damages to the Pascua Yaqui nation. Lee accused the Rogers of misusing ICGPA funds while operating one of two private poker clubs that opened in Tucson last year. (The other club closed for separate reasons.) Lee also vowed to reopen the club at a new Tucson location.