- Jerry Rape thought he had won a $1.4 million jackpot playing electronic bingo, but his happiness was thwarted by claims of a “machine malfunction”
- After seven years of seeking legal aid, the Alabama high court finally ruled that the player has no grounds for his claim
Hitting a seven-figure jackpot is a dream of pretty much all casino players anywhere in the world.
It’s the proverbial stuff that dreams are made of, but those dreams can quickly turn into a nightmare.
This is what happened to one Jerry Rape who thought Lady Luck finally decided to send her kind glance in his direction when he won a huge $1.4 million electronic bingo jackpot at the Wind Creek Casino Resort in Alabama.
His happiness wasn’t meant to last, however, as 24 hours after his win, the casino announced his jackpot void due to a machine malfunction.
In plain words, Wind Creek officials told the player he wouldn’t be getting a single cent, let alone the seven-figure amount he thought was coming his way.
Seeking legal aid
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Rape wouldn’t let the matter rest and he lawyered-up, seeking a legal remedy for his troubles.
However, he was in for another surprise when the court explained that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians who owned the casino was a sovereign nation and they were immune to lawsuits.
Since the tribal court wouldn’t accept his lawsuit, Jerry turned to what he believed to be a higher authority, Alabama’s state court.
The entire matter took seven years to resolve and, in the end, it wasn’t to player’s satisfaction.
According to Alabama’s state court statement issued on Friday, Jerry Rape couldn’t sue the casino because tribal court is the only proper venue for hearing cases involving tribal land-based casinos.
Furthermore, the high court also explained that this was a Catch 22-type of a situation and the player probably wouldn’t be able to file a legal complaint even if there weren’t for a small issue of sovereignty.
Namely, even if State of Alabama had the jurisdiction over the tribal land located in Elmore County, any and all gambling8 activities are considered illegal. Hence, the player would have no grounds for a legal action as his winnings came from illegal activities.
The prohibition doesn’t apply to tribal casinos, of course, but neither do state laws, so players are left to their own means.
The unlucky player has now exhausted all of his resources and it is now clear he won’t be getting paid any of his jackpot winnings. This isn’t the first time a player has been denied a jackpot, either.
There’ve been other cases involving even bigger payouts and every time a “malfunction” was claimed, courts and gambling commissions sided with casinos.
In the end, it seems that house does always win when it matters most.
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