Even When You Win At Gambling, You Still Lose

There are many ways to lose all of your money in Atlantic City: at a casino, on the boardwalk, back home at the pharmacy buying expensive herpes medication. But a New Jersey judge invented a whole new way to come out behind: winning at mini-baccarat.

In 2012, 14 mini-baccarat players won $1.5 million between them thanks to comical errors at the Golden Nugget. Apparently, the Golden Nugget uses pre-shuffled decks for its mini-baccarat games, and apparently the Golden Nugget employs dealers who are wholly incapable of noticing a deck that was not shuffled. But the players did. They bet accordingly and took the casino to the cleaners.

Or so they thought. While some players were able to cash out about $900,000 in winnings, the casino detained and refused to pay out another $600,000 in chips. The casino was operating under the longstanding house rule of: “Wait, the house can’t lose that much, go f**k yourselves.”…

Golden Nugget sued the players for their money back. There were people already walking around with $600,000 in their collective pockets, and Golden Nugget sued them make them bring it back.

The players counter-sued Golden Nugget for the additional $600,000 and other claims. Last month, Judge James Isman sided with the casino. Under New Jersey’s insane gaming laws (which are of course written with the help of the gaming industry that supports that state’s economy), it’s the players fault for “taking advantage” of the casino when they figured out the deck was shuffled improperly. At that point, the players were participating in an “illegal” game, and the casino has no obligation to pay them. The players who cashed out, now have to give Golden Nugget back the money, whether they have it or not.

What the hell kind of law is this?

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