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Michigan Supreme Court to Hear BetMGM Lawsuit

The Michigan Supreme Court is set to review Jacqueline Davis's $3.2 million dispute with BetMGM, a case that could establish new standards for resolving online casino payout errors.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Jun 10, 2024

Trouble in Michigan

A Michigan woman’s legal battle with BetMGM over a disputed $3.2 million payout has attracted significant attention and raised important questions about the handling of online casino errors. The Michigan Supreme Court's forthcoming review of the case marks a pivotal moment that could set a precedent for how such disputes are resolved in the burgeoning online gaming industry. The court's decision will be closely watched, not just for its immediate financial implications but for its potential to shape regulatory and operational standards in online gambling.

In March 2021, Jacqueline Davis embarked on a seemingly lucky streak while playing “Luck O’ the Roulette” at BetMGM's online casino. Davis, a resident of Michigan, claimed that her initial small bets of $4.50 rapidly escalated as she began to win significantly. According to court documents, by the end of the day on March 18, she had already accumulated over $20,000. Her betting continued for five of the next six days, leading to an account balance of over $3 million by March 23.

Court records reveal the specifics of Davis's account balances over these crucial days, showing a striking progression:

  • March 18: $20,077.74
  • March 19: $64,286.16
  • March 21: $488,498.24
  • March 22: $2,527,300.82
  • March 23: $3,289,500.75

On March 21, Davis requested a $100,000 withdrawal from her account, which BetMGM initially approved. Davis collected this sum in person at MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. However, shortly after this withdrawal, BetMGM suspended her account. The casino's representatives informed Davis that a technical glitch was responsible for her unusual winnings, leading to a protracted legal battle.

 

The Glitch Argument

BetMGM claims that Davis’s extraordinary winnings resulted from a software glitch that erroneously multiplied her payouts. According to the casino, this malfunction led to an inflation of her account balance, making typical wins appear significantly larger. BetMGM stated that this glitch was responsible for artificially inflating the amounts credited to Davis’s account. The company suggested that the glitch could turn a $100 win into a $1,000 win by erroneously multiplying the payout.

In response, BetMGM offered Davis settlements of either $23,000 or $75,000 in BetMGM credits, provided she agreed to confidentiality regarding the glitch. Davis rejected these offers, choosing to pursue the full amount she believed she was owed. BetMGM's position is that the glitch only affected 2.5% of Davis's plays, a figure they argue does not substantiate her claim to the $3.2 million balance. However, the casino did not specify how much of her total balance was affected by the glitch, leaving a significant gap in the narrative and fueling further legal contention.

 

Judicial Journey

Since 2021, Davis’s legal claims have encountered significant obstacles in the Michigan court system. Initially, the Wayne County Circuit Court dismissed her case, siding with BetMGM's argument that the winnings were the result of a technical error. Davis then appealed this decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court's ruling, reinforcing BetMGM's position. Despite these setbacks, Davis pursued the matter further, filing an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court.

In late May 2024, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear Davis’s appeal, marking a critical juncture in the dispute. Both Davis and BetMGM will have the opportunity to present their arguments in a 20-minute oral session before the court. This decision opens the door for a thorough review of the case, with the potential for new legal interpretations that could impact similar cases in the future. Experts and stakeholders in the online gaming industry are expected to submit amicus briefs, providing additional insights and arguments to influence the court’s final decision.

The case carries potential consequences far beyond the $3.2 million in dispute. The outcome could influence how discrepancies in online casino payouts are managed and establish a legal framework for resolving such disputes. This case might also set a precedent for how online casinos handle errors in payout calculations, affecting future policies and operational procedures within the industry. The ruling could impact customer trust, as well as regulatory practices, which are crucial for maintaining fairness and transparency in the rapidly expanding online gaming sector.

Despite the controversy, BetMGM continues to lead Michigan’s online casino market. Since its launch in early 2021, BetMGM’s online platform has generated over $1.7 billion, solidifying its position as the state’s flagship iGaming entity. The casino has consistently competed with Motor City Casino for the top spot in monthly gross revenue. Although Motor City Casino has recently outperformed BetMGM in some months, BetMGM remains a dominant force in the Michigan online gaming market, leveraging its extensive brand recognition and customer base to maintain a competitive edge.

 

“The Michigan Supreme Court’s review of Jacqueline Davis’s $3.2 million dispute with BetMGM could set a precedent for handling errors in online casino payouts.”

 

Awaiting the Verdict

As the Michigan Supreme Court prepares to hear this landmark case, both the gambling industry and legal observers are keenly awaiting the outcome. The ruling will not only determine Davis’s financial fate but also has the potential to redefine the boundaries of liability and fairness in the digital casino landscape. The case's implications extend beyond individual players and companies, touching on broader issues of consumer protection, corporate accountability, and the technological integrity of online gaming platforms.

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