Long-time VIP

A high roller is suing MGM Resorts International, claiming he was drugged while playing at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in December 2020. A real estate executive and former sports agent from Brea, California, Dwight Manley believes someone put ketamine in his drink while he was gambling in the casino’s private high roller salon, resulting in him losing control of his faculties and $2 million in casino markers.

Manley filed a federal lawsuit in November 2022 and amended it in July 2023, accusing MGM of consumer fraud and negligence, and last week announced a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever allegedly drugged him. In the meantime, MGM wants him to pay the $2 million in credits plus another $440,000.

According to the legal filing, Manley had been a VIP at MGM Grand for 30 years. Along with that came all the trappings: free hotel suites, food, drink, a private high-limit area, a personal casino host, and markers, which are credits advanced by the casino.

Things went south from the start

On his December 2020, Manley and his friends flew to Las Vegas via private jet and shortly after arriving, he was playing blackjack in the private high roller salon. He ordered an old fashioned from the room’s bar, but complained that it tasted “bitter” and “dirty,” requesting a different preparation method or recipe for his next one.

Shortly after imbibing that first drink, though, Manley felt unwell, disoriented. He cut his hand after breaking a glass ashtray, but casino staff only gave his friends Band-Aids to apply in the restroom, rather than calling someone who could give proper first aid.

As Manley continued playing blackjack, the casino kept extending him markers, upping the debt he would eventually owe. His casino host, who had worked with Manley for five years, and the pit staff observed that something was wrong, that Manley was behaving erratically. All the while, though, the casino kept increasing his credit limit.

“MGM did nothing to stop (Manley) from further gaming play or to otherwise check on his well-being despite its casino host expressly commenting upon his ‘erratic’ behavior,” the lawsuit says.

Something knocked him out

After three hours, court documents state, Manley and his friends left to go to the Venetian (not realizing he had left $500,000 on the blackjack table), but on the way, Manley got noticeably worse, unable to walk or stand without assistance. His friends took him to his hotel room and got him in bed, where he passed out at 5:15pm. When he woke up in the morning, he told hotel staff that he thought he had been drugged.

When he returned to California, Manley had his hair follicles tested for the presence of drugs and the results were positive for ketamine.

In addition to the lawsuit, Manley has filed a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

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