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Riverwind Casino: why You Should Never Ever Set Foot In An Indian Ca

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  • Riverwind Casino: why You Should Never Ever Set Foot In An Indian Ca

    One of my recent favorite gambling books is Beat The Players by Las Vegas attorney Bob Nersesian, whose schtick is suing Nevada casinos that have committed outrageous torts against patrons. I recently heard of an incident that happened at a California Indian casino that is similar to many of the incidents in Nersesian's book:A casino player is 86ed from the casino and told not to come back. The casino's marketing department nonetheless sends him mailers inviting him back, which legally vitiates the ban. But the hapless player is dragged from his slot machine, is carried into the back room, roughed up, his winning slot tickets confiscated. He is then turned over to the real cops who arrest him for trespassing.In any other place except an Indian casino, the patron might have a good lawsuit for false arrest, false imprisonment, battery, conversion, etc. Or he might lose in court. But Indian tribes, and their commercial operations including casinos, are sovereign entities under the law. They can't be sued, except in their own tribal courts. They regulate their own games, and the state gaming commission cannot inspect them. If an Indian casino security guard were to unholster his weapon and shoot you dead, while he might possibly be subject to prosecution by the authorities, you still wouldn't be able to sue. The U.S. Supreme Court has opined that Indian tribal sovereign immunity is an accident of legal precedent, not unlike organized baseball's antitrust exemption, but it will be up to Congress to overturn it. Of course, the vast amount of money that the tribes contribute to political campaigns ensures this will never happen.

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