Although hope springs eternal among some trial lawyers and foes of legalized gambling that casinos might be made legally responsible for the losses of problem gamblers they negligently failed to eject from their premises, courts are still unwilling to see it that way, with three cases early this year all resulting in strong pro-casino opinions. (I. Nelson Rose, “Compulsive Gamblers Lose Again, In Court”, Jun. 2). Among them was the widely publicized case (see Sept. 12, 2002) of David Williams, who sued the Aztar casino for failing to exclude him although it had reason to know he was violating an order to stay away. U.S. District Judge John Tinder wrote that the case was barred by applicable precedent and added: “Whether this case is viewed as a claim for just compensation… or an effort to hit the jackpot in litigation that he couldn’t achieve on the river boat casino… through this lawsuit and a plethora of federal and state law theories, Williams seeks a determination that the gambling industry owed him a duty to protect him from himself. Despite his counsel’s creative efforts, and regardless of Williams’ sympathetic plight, neither federal nor Indiana law provides him any refuge or reward.” (“Compulsive gambler loses lawsuit against Casino Aztar”, Louisville Courier-Journal, reprinted CasinoMan, Mar. 7; “Problem gambler asks court to reverse ruling”, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 14).
Canada: 37-year-old Lisa Dickert “and her husband Steven have filed a $1-million lawsuit against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.” for failing to exclude Ms. Dickert, a compulsive gambler, from the casinos where she gambled away her savings. She had entered a voluntary casino self-exclusion program, but her suit argues that the casinos did little or nothing to enforce the exclusion. (Victor Malarek, “A gambler’s rehab gone wrong”, The Globe and Mail, Jul. 30)(more on gambling suits: May 20-21, 2002).