The Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City lost its court case against several baccarat players who took advantage of cards that had not been shuffled by the manufacturer and has agreed to pay the players in the dispute.
Atlantic City Judge James Isman ruled that the casino must cash the chips involved in the dispute. The row began in April after 41 hands in baccarat were played without having shuffled cards. The alert players picked up on this and ending up taking the house for $1.5 million.
A lawyer for the Golden Nugget argued before the court that: “There was a mistake made at the Gemaco facility, which we freely admitted. This was a one-time, isolated mistake, but it occurred. It’s supposed to be a game of chance. It changed from a game of chance to a windfall for the individual players. What we have now is individual players coming to the court asking for a free payday based on a mistake that took place.”
Hours after the court's ruling, Golden Nugget Owner Tilman Fertitta decided to pay out the winnings to make the issue go away.
“Without question, the mini-baccarat game that took place on April 30, 2012, allowed $10 bettors to realize a gambler’s dream and enabled them to beat the house out of $1.5 million." Fertitta said.
“Even though we can appeal the court’s ruling and take full advantage of the appellate process and legal system, and tie the matter up in litigation for a number of years, the Golden Nugget is a people business, and is prepared to allow the gamblers - most of whom continue to gamble at Golden Nugget - to realize the gambler’s dream of beating the house.”
The Golden Nugget was trying to halt the payments to players as well as recoup more than $500,000 that was paid out to players in the case. Isman ruled that the players did nothing wrong and remained at risk as there was no way to tell when the run of cards would end.
Fertitta for his part has claimed that he will likely pursue litigation against the card manufacturer to lessen the financial sting of its losses.
“We have a company we can go back against that has admitted fault,” he said. “But that’s our problem.”