Posts Tagged ‘gambling’

Lotteries about lotteries

Because of a misprinted number in a New York Daily News circulation-boosting game called Scratch n’ Match, hundreds of people thought they’d won the top $100,000 prize. The rules printed on the back of each ticket specify that there is to be no liability “in the event of printing, production or other error”, but Queens attorney Steven Gildin says the News can’t “cower behind fine print”: “Thousands of people thought they had their shot at the American dream”. And now, to give them that shot, he and other lawyers are preparing lawsuits. “A lot of people keep their hopes alive on these lotteries,” said one of Gildin’s law partners referring, it would seem from context, to the scratch-off tickets rather than the courtroom filings. (Clyde Haberman, “American Dreaming? Take a Number”, New York Times, Apr. 1).

Lerach to Google: cough up bettor bucks

“Lerach Coughlin Stoia & Robbins …filed a class action against Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and 10 other Internet search engines that claims they have been promoting illegal gambling on their Web sites and requests that they fork over the ad revenue. The complaint, filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court, requests that the search engines put revenue from advertising Internet gambling into a fund that would provide restitution to California Indian Tribes or other licensed gambling businesses in California. The complaint says money in the fund would also go to the spouses of gamblers who have had community property taken away as a result of illegal gambling and to the state treasury.” (Brenda Sandburg, “Casino Come-Ons Return Bad Result for Search Sites”, The Recorder, Aug. 5; David Legard, “Gambling lawsuit filed against top Web content sites”, IDG/Computerworld, Aug. 4). For questions about the legality of accepting advertising from offshore casinos, see Apr. 21. Earlier lawsuits have gone after credit card companies for facilitating offshore gambling transactions (see Dec. 7, 1999), but a Lerach attorney said this was the first suit against search engines.

“Is talking about online gambling illegal?”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, running an ad for an offshore Internet casino may amount to “aiding and abetting” illegal gambling, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. Rendering banking, computer-security or public-relations services to such a website — or maybe even mentioning its name — might constitute a violation as well, and it matters not that the site may be entirely lawful in the country from which it operates. Although it is far from clear that U.S. prosecutors could actually obtain convictions that would stand up on such charges, both Google and Yahoo have capitulated and agreed to stop running such ads, which “illustrates the chilling effect of vague laws in the hands of ambitious prosecutors,” writes Jacob Sullum. (“Abetting betting”, syndicated/Reason, Apr. 9). Update Aug. 9: and here come the class action suits.

“Lucky gambler sues Las Vegas casino”

“A Los Angeles lawyer who claims he was thrown out of Las Vegas last year because he was too lucky has sued MGM Mirage in a bid to force the casino to warn prospective gamblers that they can be barred for winning too much.” Ernest Franseschi, Jr., “who plays blackjack as a hobby, said casino officials did not accuse him of cheating, but of counting cards to determine which had been played — a practice that is not illegal.” “We, like any other business, reserve the right to refuse service,” said a spokesman for MGM Mirage. (Reuters/Yahoo, Mar. 3). On the longstanding war between casinos and card-counters, which occasionally spills over into litigation, see I. Nelson Rose (professor at Whittier Law School), “Dealing with Card-Counters”, 2002, at Rose’s site Gambling and the Law.

Latest you-didn’t-throw-me-out gamblers’ suit

“Two problem gamblers have filed a potential class-action lawsuit alleging that Detroit’s three casinos have failed to enforce a state program designed to permanently bar gambling addicts from their properties. … Virginia Ormanian of Wyandotte and Norma Astourian of Taylor asked to be barred from the casinos in the summer of 2002. But they couldn’t stay away.” They are now suing the establishments for not doing enough to enforce the program, under which “gamblers who sign up for the program and return to the casino are subject to up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.” (Becky Yerak and Kim Kozlowski, “Gamblers sue Detroit casinos for not barring them”, Detroit News, Nov. 5). For earlier you-didn’t-exclude-us cases, see Sept. 7, Aug. 1 (Canada).

Compulsive gamblers not faring well against casinos

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).

Gambler sues casinos for failing to exclude her

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).