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Atlantic City Casinos Win Compulsive Gambling Lawsuit

Discover the latest legal ruling as the U.S. District Court dismisses a lawsuit against Atlantic City casinos over compulsive gambling, sparking calls for legislative change and raising questions about the responsibilities of gambling establishments.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Feb 8, 2024

Atlantic City Casinos Win Compulsive Gambling Lawsuit

In a significant legal development, the U.S. District Court has ruled in favor of three Atlantic City gambling companies, dismissing a lawsuit brought against them by a New York man alleging their complicity in his compulsive gambling habits.

The lawsuit, initiated by Sam Antar in September 2022, targeted Borgata casino, its parent company MGM Resort International, and its online partner Entain. Antar claimed that despite being aware of his gambling addiction, the defendants continued to entice him to gamble through various offers and promotions.

 However, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo delivered a decisive ruling on January 31, 2024, asserting that New Jersey law does not mandate casino operators to exclude compulsive gamblers. While the state's legislation extensively regulates casino responsibilities regarding problem gambling, it does not explicitly prohibit inducements for individuals exhibiting addictive behavior.

 

Key Points:

  1. U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sam Antar against three Atlantic City gambling companies, ruling that New Jersey law doesn't mandate casinos to exclude compulsive gamblers.
  2. Judge Madeline Cox Arleo's decision highlighted the absence of a legal duty of care owed by the defendants to the plaintiff under current legislation, despite the existence of New Jersey's self-exclusion program for problem gamblers.
  3. The dismissal of the lawsuit follows a trend observed in similar cases nationwide, prompting calls for legislative reform from Antar and raising questions about the responsibilities of gambling establishments in addressing addiction issues.

The Recent Developments

Judge Arleo clarified her decision by highlighting the absence of a negligence common law duty of care owed by the defendants to the plaintiff under current legislation. Despite the existence of New Jersey's self-exclusion program for problem gamblers, which requires operators to prevent self-excluded individuals from gambling to avoid regulatory fines, the judge found no legal grounds to hold the defendants liable for Antar's gambling losses.

The dismissal of Antar's lawsuit follows a pattern observed in similar cases nationwide, prompting calls for legislative reform from Antar himself. Expressing dissatisfaction with the ruling, Antar announced plans to appeal, stressing the need for broader societal action to address compulsive gambling. 

 

This is not just about me; this is about all the people across this country who have this addiction. When are we as a country going to address this?

 

The case garnered attention due to the substantial sums involved, with Antar reportedly gambling $30 million over 100,000 bets during a nine-month period in 2019. Despite his claims of the defendants' awareness of his addiction, the court found insufficient evidence to support his allegations.

Antar's history, including past involvement in fraudulent activities leading to a prison sentence in 2013, adds complexity to the legal proceedings. However, the court is separately considering his claims of compulsive gambling, underscoring the multifaceted nature of the case.

In response to the dismissal, the defendants, represented by MGM, declined to comment, emphasizing the challenges inherent in legal recourse for individuals grappling with compulsive gambling. The ruling highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the responsibilities of gambling establishments in addressing addiction issues and the need for comprehensive legislative measures to safeguard vulnerable individuals.



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