WASHINGTON — A recent Supreme Court ruling concerning a tribal casino and state authorities has sparked a debate about whether the decision could extend to curtailing payday lenders that claim their affiliation with Native American tribes frees them from state and federal consumer protection laws.

Although the case did not directly deal with payday lending, the ruling — which upheld tribal sovereignty in the case of a casino — specifically mentioned possible limits to tribal authority by suggesting states could instead pursue individuals. Some consumer advocates said the decision will make it harder for payday lenders to defend themselves by relying on tribal sovereignty.

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