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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Gambler Can’t Sue Tribe for Big Gambling Losses

(CN) - A self-described gambling addict who lost more than $60,000 in student loan money at an Indian casino in Oklahoma cannot sue the casino's operators, a federal judge ruled.

Eddie Santana claimed in November that the Muscogee Nation was unjustly enriched by allowing him to gamble at the casino, and that casino advertising unfairly targets gambling addicts.

He also claimed that casino employees negligently let him keep gambling in violation of the state's Model Gaming Compact. Santana wanted the court to order Oklahoma and "do what's right" by intervening in the case.

The Muscogee Nation removed the case from state court to the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa.

U.S. District Judge James H. Payne dismissed for lack of jurisdiction Thursday. The Model Gaming Compact requires plaintiffs to show clear and unequivocal evidence of a tribe's consent to be sued in nontribal courts.

Payne also refused to let Santana add claims or add Oklahoma as a defendant. The decision notes that Santana filed a nearly identical suit in 2006 against a casino operator.

"As the court examines the instant jurisdictional issues, it notes plaintiff has already tried, and failed, to have the crux of this dispute settled in federal court," Payne wrote.

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