Drunk Gambler Sues Casino After Losing $500K

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on March 06, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A gambler is suing a Las Vegas casino to recover the $500,000 he lost over Super Bowl weekend, claiming he was too drunk.

Mark Johnston, a retiree from Ventura, California, is suing the Downtown Grand for loaning him money when he was allegedly completely blacked out, The Associated Press reports.

But are his legal claims going to hit the jackpot in court? (har har)

Nevada Gambling Regulatoins

In Nevada, the home of Sin City, casinos cannot allow "visibly intoxicated" patrons to gamble and cannot serve visbly drunk patrons with complimentary drinks.

Johnston claims the Grand, which opened last November in the old part of the Vegas Strip, continued to let him gamble when he was very obviously drunk and even comped him dozens of drinks as he gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars, The AP reports.

One of the issues of fact in the case is whether Johnston was indeed "visibly intoxicated."

Proof of Intoxication?

A Las Vegas regular for more than three decades, Johnston says he came to the Grand during Super Bowl weekend at the invitation of the casino and maintained a steady flow of alcohol in his bloodstream.

Johnston claims he drank in the limousine from the Las Vegas airport to the Grand, and drank even more during dinner with friends. Add those allegations to the one that the Grand comped him dozens of drinks while he was playing pai gow and blackjack, and it gives you a sense of just how sloshed Johnston might have been when he was gambling.

According to Johnston's attorney, the gambler couldn't even read his cards and didn't learn how much he had lost until a couple days later, when he was finally sober. Johnston's attorneys will likely use witness testimony and surveillance footage to prove he was visibly intoxicated.

A spokeswoman for the Downtown Grand decined to comment on the pending lawsuit. Meantime, Nevada's Gaming Control Board is investigating, The AP reports.

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