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gambling

My knowledge of baccarat never got beyond James Bond novels, but this is quite a story of the Borgata casino’s suing a world-leading player over his having taken advantage of a defect in playing card manufacture, to the tune of nearly $10 million. There are some echoes of the perennial controversy over blackjack card counters (see here and here) [Kyle Wagner, DeadSpin].

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February 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 3, 2014

  • “Class counsel in Facebook ‘Sponsored Stories’ case seeks to impose $32,000 appeal bond on class-action objectors” [Public Citizen, Center for Class Action Fairness]
  • The best piece on bar fight litigation I’ve ever read [Burt Likko, Ordinary Gentlemen]
  • Casino mogul Adelson campaigns to suppress online gaming; is your state attorney general among those who’ve signed on? [PPA, The Hill]
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): “Anyone who values the rule of law should be alarmed by the ADM enforcement action.” [Mike Koehler]
  • New FMCSA rules on length of workweek make life difficult for long-haul truckers [Betsy Morris, WSJ via Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven, National Review and more]
  • “It takes a remarkable amount of nerve to cobble together publicly available facts, claim you’ve uncovered a fraud on the government, and file a lawsuit from which you could earn substantial financial benefits.” [Richard Samp, WLF] Whistleblower-law lobby tries to get its business model established in West Virginia [W.V. Record]
  • Pittsburgh readers, hope to see you tomorrow at Duquesne [law school Federalist Society]

Video slots as next-tobacco?

by Walter Olson on December 12, 2013

We haven’t reported on the doings of Prof. Richard Daynard for a while, but here’s this Oregonian item about his institute at Northeastern University:

Mark Gottlieb, executive director of the Boston-based Public Health Advocacy Institute, said a handful of groups are looking at the potential for a broad product liability lawsuit over the addictive nature of the machines. …

“There are some similarities [with tobacco],” Gottlieb says. “We are talking about a product that is engineered to make people do something that is basically destructive and causes an economic injury.”

Portland attorney Greg Kafoury says he is part of “a team of national lawyers” looking at a potential class-action suit. He wouldn’t go into detail but called it “a major, long-term project.”

There is nothing new, however, about lawyers’ yearning to crack open this particular well-guarded vault. See our reports from May and September 2002, for example. Hope springs eternal?

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Radley Balko, often linked in this space, is out with a new book entitled Rise of the Warrior Cop, about the militarization of local police forces. [Reviews: Scott Greenfield, Diane Goldstein] A Salon excerpt details SWAT team raids over such offenses as sports gambling (“It [the Fairfax County, Va. 2006 shooting of football bettor Sal Culosi) wasn’t even the first time a Virginia SWAT team had killed someone during a gambling raid”) as well as dog shootings by police and aggressive actions against political protests. Balko has been devoting his Huffington Post column to such related topics as the police-industrial complex, and the ABA Journal also has an extensive treatment (related podcast).

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Counting by way of human memory is not unlawful, but casino law tends to ban card counting that is assisted by mechanical device. Is that a defensible distinction? [Adam Kolber, Prawfs]

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December 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 7, 2012

  • Georgia: “Twiggs County Landgrabber Loses, Must Pay $100K in Fees” [Lowering the Bar]
  • “Major California Rule Change For Depositions Takes Place In 2013″ [Cal Biz Lit] Discovery cost control explored at IAALS conference [Prawfs]
  • Gift idea! “Lego version of the Eighth Circle of Hell (where false counselors and perjurers suffered)” [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum; Flavorwire]
  • “Don’t Worry About the Voting Rights Act: If the Supreme Court strikes down part of it, black and Hispanic voters will be just fine.” [Eric Posner and Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Slate, via @andrewmgrossman]
  • “Why did Congress hold hearings this week promoting crackpot [anti-vaccination] views? [Phil Plait, Slate]
  • “Debunking a Progressive Constitutional Myth; or, How Corporations Became People, Too” [John Fabian Witt, Balkinization]
  • “Federal ‘protection’ of American poker players turning into confiscation” [Point of Law]

“Lawsuits involving lottery pool winnings have been common enough to create a new set of case law, said Russ Weaver, a University of Louisville law professor. A cursory Google search shows some ‘Lotto lawyers’ across the country who specialize in such disputes.” [USA Today/AZCentral]

“The CFTC is suing popular betting site Intrade. And now Intrade is telling its [U.S.] customers to start shutting down their accounts.” [Business Insider, Alex Tabarrok]

The CFTC says bets on future events must be exchange-traded as a way of assuring “market integrity,” but Bryan Caplan begs to differ:

The CFTC’s real complaint is that consumers eagerly bet on Intrade because the company exemplifies market integrity: “I trust Intrade with my money because of their reputation, not government regulation.” …The only people the CFTC is “protecting” are their own obsolete employees.

Brian Doherty notes that the CFTC’s press release is “strangely devoid of any mention of anyone being victimized or defrauded.” Followup: Tabarrok.

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Gamblers at a mini-baccarat table at the Atlantic City Golden Nugget could scarcely believe their good fortune: the house was dealing from an unshuffled deck, making it possible to guess which cards were coming next. “Forty-one consecutive winning hands later, the 14 players had racked up more than $1.5 million in winnings — surrounded by casino security convinced they had cheated but unable to prove how.” When the truth emerged, the casino filed a lawsuit against the card manufacturer, saying the decks had wrongly been promised as pre-shuffled. Meanwhile, it is refusing to cash in the uncashed chips of the winners, on the theory that New Jersey regulations invalidate casino games that do not offer fair odds to both sides. The players’ lawyer rejects that theory and also claims the casino has shown bias toward his clients because of their Asian origin, which the casino denies. [AP/NJ.com]

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“A lawsuit alleges a Mississippi casino served so much alcohol to a man taking powerful prescription painkillers that he died on the floor of his hotel bathroom.” Additional dimension of pathos: he was at the casino spending the proceeds of a lawsuit settlement. [AP/Jackson Clarion Ledger]

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A discarded Arkansas Lottery ticket turns out to be a $1 million winner, and now three women are fighting over who owns it. [ABC]

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September 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 2, 2011

  • Jury acquits ex-firefighter who claimed disability while competing as a bodybuilder [Boston Herald]
  • Authorities snatch kids from homes after parents busted with small amounts of pot [NYT, Tim Lynch/Cato]
  • “Case Study on Impact of Tort Reform in Mississippi” [Mark Behrens via Scheuerman/TortsProf]
  • When opt-in works: “More than 27,000 S. Korean users join class-action suit against Apple” [Yonhap]
  • Casino liable after customers leave kids unattended in cars? [Max Kennerly]
  • All is forgiven, says frequent investment plaintiff: “State Street Rehired by Calpers After Being Likened to ‘Thugs’” [Business Week]
  • Vintage comic book covers on law themes are a regular Friday feature at Abnormal Use.

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June 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 22, 2011

“A San Diego woman has sued the company that owns the Chuck E. Cheese’s family restaurant chain, claiming that many of the games intended for children at these locations are actually illegal gambling devices — like slot machines.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, Above the Law ("Can you imagine growing up and being known as the kid whose mom sued Chuck E. Cheese?")] For other class actions based on creative theories that something “amounts to” gambling, see this site’s reports from 1999 (Pokémon and other kids’ trading/collecting cards) and 2008 (“Deal or No Deal” TV show).

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A Fort Lee, N.J. woman says NYC television station WABC “caused her thousands of dollars in emotional damage when it broadcast the wrong lottery numbers.” [UPI, AP]

“Because [Harrah's] ads did not explicitly state that the $15 ["birthday cash"] vouchers could not be redeemed until after 8 a.m. on the days in question, tens of thousands of recipients are entitled to $100 each in damages — a potential $8 million hit to the casino giant’s bottom line.” [AP/NYT]

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August 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 5, 2010

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress lifted the ban on Internet gambling [Steve Chapman]
  • Design of New Orleans shotgun houses is an adaptation to tax laws [Candy Chang]
  • Lawyer-enriching Costco class action settlement draws an objection from a blogger often linked in this space [Amy Alkon]
  • “Fourth Circuit slaps down N.C. attorney general’s suit against TVA” [Wood/PoL, Jackson]
  • South Carolina jury’s $2.375 million award based on premise that Nissan should have followed European, not U.S. crashworthiness standards [Abnormal Use]
  • City of Cleveland won’t take no for answer in dumb lawsuit against mortgage lenders [Funnell]
  • Charles H. Green at TrustMatters hosts Blawg Review #275;
  • Duke lacrosse fiasco: Nifong’s media and law-school enablers [three years ago at Overlawyered]

And electronic bingo players have now sued under the 158-year-old law to demand reimbursement of their losses. [Kent Faulk, Birmingham News]

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