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Gamblers Hit Pay Dirt Again, Prevail in Unshuffled Cards Lawsuit

Last month, I wrote here about 14 mini-baccarat players at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, N.J., who, after discovering that the cards in use were unshuffled and being dealt in the same sequence, racked up more than $1.5 million in winnings. After originally believing that the players were cheating somehow, the casino eventually figured out that the playing-card manufacturer it worked with had failed to pre-shuffle the cards as required.

The casino predictably sued the card manufacturer. It also sued the gamblers, however, under the seemingly weak theory that state gambling regulations require all casino games to offer fair odds to both sides. Although nine of the gamblers were able to cash in $500,000 in chips, the casino prevented others in the group from cashing in about $1 million in chips.

Earlier this month, the gamblers won big again, however, when a New Jersey state court ruled that the Golden Nugget must allow the gamblers to cash in the remaining nearly $1 million worth of chips they won. The Associated Press reports that in addition, the court found that the casino cannot go after the approximately $500,000 it already paid out.

According to the AP article, the unshuffled cards were not dealt in an obvious numerical order, "such as 2-3-4-5." Rather, they came out in "a predetermined pattern that the manufacturer lists as a proprietary secret." But the 14 gamblers figured out the recurring pattern, and raised their bets from $10 per hand to $5,000 per hand to rake in the $1.5 million. 

The adverse ruling also drew a furious response from the casino's general counsel, who reportedly yelled at the judge for not properly reviewing all of the pertinent evidence in the case. "I've been on the bench for 12 years now, and I don't believe anyone has ever spoken to me like that," Superior Court Judge James Isman said. The casino intends to appeal the decision.

Posted by Bruce Carton on September 13, 2012 at 04:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)


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