Judge: Casino not liable in unshuffled cards case


A judge says an Atlantic City casino does not have to pay $1.5 million won by a group of gamblers who realized the cards had not been shuffled.

Fourteen players racked up $1.5 million in winnings over 41 straight hands when they realized the cards were coming out in a specific pattern. Many of them quickly upped their bets from $10 a hand to $5,000.

A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the Golden Nugget Atlantic City does not have to redeem the nearly $1 million in chips still held by the gamblers, and said the casino can recover more than $500,000 it already paid them.

A lawyer for the casino's parent company, Landry's Inc., had no immediate comment. An attorney for the gamblers also declined to comment.

The judge ruled that because the cards had been unshuffled, that made the game of mini-baccarat in April 2012 illegal under state casino rules.

The decks came from a Kansas City company that sold decks of cards guaranteed to be pre-shuffled. That company, Gemaco, said in court it had made a mistake by providing unshuffled cards to the casino.

The casino sued the 14 gamblers for the return of some money already paid out and also asked to be absolved from paying the remaining amounts.

The players counter sued, alleging, among other things, that the casino illegally detained them. The illegal detention claim remains pending.

Two years ago, casino owner Tilman Fertitta said the casino would pay the remainder of the disputed winnings, but later changed his mind when some of the gamblers refused to dismiss their claims against the Golden Nugget.

In Friday's ruling, a racketeering count against the casino was dismissed.

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