Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Indian Casino Gets Away with a Slot Scam of its Own

Judge dismisses jackpot lawsuit against Sandia casino

The Associated Press
Article Launched: 02/04/2008 05:09:19 PM MST

ALBUQUERQUE—A state district judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Bernalillo County man who accused Sandia Resort & Casino of not paying him a jackpot of nearly $1.6 million.

Gary Hoffman claimed he was playing a slot machine in August 2006 when hit the jackpot. The casino refused to pay, saying the machine wasn't working properly and that Hoffman had actually won about $400.

Hoffman alleged the casino violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act and he sued for the jackpot winnings plus punitive damages.

Paul Bardacke, an attorney representing Sandia Pueblo, argued that the tribe couldn't be sued in state district court because of sovereign immunity (Sovereign immunity, gimme a break!), and Judge Linda Vanzi agreed during a hearing Monday.

Hoffman's attorney, Sam Bregman, said he will appeal the ruling.

Bregman argued that tribal sovereignty wasn't meant to protect tribes from luring people to their casinos and then cheating them out of their winnings.

"This decision has national implications," he said. "There are billions of dollars at stake when it comes to Indian gaming and the idea that they never have to be held accountable is very troubling."