Two gamblers are suing SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, claiming that the casino has used broken shuffling machines at gaming tables and “illegitimate” card decks, which has resulted in the two players losing more than $250,000 by playing at the establishment.
Local news outlet the Penn Record reports that Anthony Mattia from Philadelphia and William Vespe from New Jersey filed on May 22 a lawsuit with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The two casino patrons sued SugarHouse HSP Gaming, L.P. and parent company Rush Street Gaming.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Mattia and Mr. Vespe sustained losses of $147,026 and $103,844, respectively (a combined total of $250,870.18), in the period between May 2017 and January 2018. The two gamblers played at SugarHouse Casino on several occasions during that period.
The plaintiffs said that they witnessed seven incidents of broken automatic card shufflers and “illegitimate” decks of cards being used at the casino’s blackjack, poker, and mini-baccarat tables, which resulted in gamblers’ odds against the venue being reduced significantly.
As per the lawsuit, the first such incident occurred on May 28, 2017 when a SugarHouse Casino employee found 16 cards in a shuffler that had been removed from service. Investigators found that the cards were part of six decks that were used in blackjack rounds on the previous day. Only one of eight players who were dealt hands from those short decks won, according to the lawsuit.
Integrity of Gaming Operations
Another incidents detailed in the lawsuit involved a dealer mistakenly setting the automatic shuffler not to shuffle cards randomly, but to sort them by suit in sequence during a poker tournament at the gambling venue. As many as 16 hands were dealt to players before the dealer identified their mistake. The lawsuit also includes information about five more incidents involving broken shufflers or “illegitimate” card decks.
Commenting on the lawsuit, Jack Horner, a spokesperson for SugarHouse Casino, said in a recent statement that “the integrity of our gaming operations is of the utmost importance.” Mr. Horner’s statement read further that the employees involved in the seven incidents were disciplined or had their contracts terminated.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board slapped last year a $100,000 fine on the Philadelphia-based casino for using “illegitimate” decks of cards as well as “malfunctioning automatic shufflers” in the period between May 2017 and January 2018.
Conrad J. Benedetto, one of the attorneys representing the two gamblers, said that bearing in mind the seven incidents detailed in the lawsuit, “it is fair to question the integrity of the thousands of card games that were played at SugarHouse at tables using that equipment and those decks.”
The two casino patrons are suing on counts of unjust enrichment, breach of contract, negligence, and breach of good faith and fair dealing and are seeking damages, both punitive and compensatory.
Last week, SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia’s only Las Vegas-style gambling venue, launched Pennsylvania’s first online sportsbook after months of anticipation for digital sports gambling to arrive to the state. The property debuted its in-person betting facility last December.
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June 6, 2019