MASHANTUCKET, Conn. – Gamblers who bend the rules at any casino run the risk of getting tossed, black-listed or having their winnings seized. At America's tribal casinos, which operate on sovereign land, players who feel they were mistreated or wrongly accused of cheating have limited options to press their claims in outside courts.
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Lawsuits in Connecticut and Arizona involving treatment of so-called "advantage players" that are making their way through federal courts are testing the principle of sovereign immunity when it comes to abuse claims at tribal casinos.
While tribal gambling commissions often answer to the same tribes that own the casinos, National Indian Gaming Commission spokesman Michael Odle in Washington said that does not mean they do not operate independently.
In the United States there are 493 Indian casinos and 1,262 commercial casinos.