Gambler Mark Johnston, 52, is suing the Las Vegas casino the Downtown Grand, claiming that they have broken Nevada law by serving him drinks and lending him money to gamble when he was already completely and visibly intoxicated. He is also suing the casino for sullying his reputation which they did by cautioning another casino about him. Mr. Johnston owes the Downtown Grand $500,000 in gambling debts and wants the amount to be declared as unenforceable.
Mr. Johnston is known to be able to pay his gambling debts and is the owner of a $250,000 Mercedes Benz. He is a frequent gambler in Las Vegas, played cash and was never allowed a line of credit greater than $25,000. The lawsuit stated that in over a decade of gambling, Johnston had never once drawn on a line of credit. Mr. Johnston said he is not a sore loser and has lost half a million dollars and even $800,000 by gambling. He accused the casino of having played with his life by giving him so many free drinks when he was already so intoxicated. “This is about you almost killing me. What if I had gone to bed that night, with all those drinks in me, and I threw up on myself and I choked and died?” Mr. Johnston questioned.
Mark Johnston received an invitation from the Downtown Grand, which was formerly called the Lady Luck Casino. Over the Superbowl weekend he and a lady friend flew to Las Vegas from California. Johnston downed a few drinks in the limousine from the airport. A friend who had dinner with the couple at a restaurant owned by the casino observed that Johnston was visibly drunk and by the time he entered the casino Johnston already had about 10 drinks in him. Johnston was so drunk that he did not even remember leaving the restaurant or the next 20 or so hours of gambling and drinking. During that time he consumed another 20 alcoholic drinks, blacked out and had no conscious awareness of his actions. Johnston also takes prescription medication that increases the effects of alcohol, a fact that was known to the casino host who invited him.
The lawsuit of Mark Johnston the gambler who is suing the Las Vegas casino the Downtown Grand states that he took out two lines of credit worth $100,000 each within 21 minutes of each other on January 31. By 10:52 AM February 1 he had taken another marker for $50,000 and just two hours later, a fourth one for $250,000. He lost all the money on a Chinese domino game called pai gow and at a private blackjack table. The casino has also not given Johnston a 20 percent discount which would have reduced his total debt by $100,000. The casino allegedly also asked him to pay the debt 46 days before the March 31 deadline, according to the lawsuit which was filed in February and is also counter-suing him for failing to pay his debt. The lawsuit filed by Mr. Johnston states that the gentleman who is “an experienced gambler” was drunk enough to drop chips on the floor, get the colors wrong, not able to read the card and his speech was very slurred.
His legal team and attorney Sean Lyttle will have to resort to the use of CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts as they try to verify the story with which the gambler is suing the Las Vegas casino. Lyttle said that this was an entirely new story for him where a customer had reached the point of blackout intoxication and was still given more alcohol and money to play with by the casino. The casino is also under investigation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to confirm if any regulation has been violated. Regulations prohibit casinos from allowing visibly intoxicated people to gamble and also prohibit serving them any more complimentary drinks. The Downtown Grand will face fines and / or a revoked license if they lose this legal battle.
By Grace Stephen