Moral obligation differs from legal obligation

A judge has thrown out a New York man’s lawsuit against the Borgata and its parent company, MGM Resorts International, saying that Atlantic City casinos – and their online gambling sites – do not have to stop people from gambling, even if they are displaying compulsive behavior.

In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo said that New Jersey law “pervasively regulates the responsibilities of casinos as they relate to compulsive gamblers, but is notably silent on whether casinos or online gambling platforms may induce people who present with compulsive gambling behavior to patronize their businesses.”

It’s not that Arleo personally believes that is ok for casinos to allow compulsive gamblers to keep doing so, it’s that state law doesn’t make it illegal.

“The New Jersey Legislature … has not yet seen fit to require casinos to prevent or stop inducing gambling from those that exhibit problem gambling behavior,” the Associated Press cites Arleo as writing. “As a matter of law, (the) defendants do not owe a negligence common law duty of care to plaintiffs.”

Over $29 million in nine months

Sam Antar’s lawsuit against the Borgata, MGM, BetMGM, and Entain dates back to September 2022, when he claimed that BetMGM was aware of his gambling addiction and paid him to stay silent about technical problems on BetMGM that caused him to be constantly disconnected from the games.

In the suit, Antar said that he gambled over $29 million on BetMGM during a nine-month period in 2019. While playing live blackjack games and online slots on the site, he claims to have lost his connection every 15 minutes, often in hands he likely would have won. He believes he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the disconnects.

He contacted or attempted to contact many people at BetMGM, up and down the food chain. Antar claims that he was given $30,000 a month to keep him happy and avoid attracting the attention of state regulators. During one e-mail and text conversation with MGM on July 17, 2019, Antar was told that “other players are not getting anywhere near what you are getting.”

Sam Antar also said he was addicted to gambling and that MGM knew about it. He does not know exactly how much he lost during that nine-month stretch, but his lawyer, Matthew Litt, estimates that it was “at least in the six figures.”

There were times, Antar, said that he gambled for at least 24 straight hours. During one 16-day stretch in January 2020, he bet more than $5 million.

Sam Antar is the nephew of Eddie Antar, the famous founder of the Crazy Eddie electronics store chain and infamous for defrauding investors out of $74 million.

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