Gambler Sues After Losing $500K While Blackout Drunk

Mark Johnston says casino should not have issued lines of credit

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2014 3:07 AM CST

(Newser) – A California man lost $500,000 while gambling at a Las Vegas casino over Super Bowl weekend, but he doesn't think he should have to pay—because he was so drunk at the time. "I feel like they picked my pockets," says Mark Johnston, who is suing the Downtown Grand casino to erase his debt. "I feel like they took a drunk guy ... like a drunk guy walking down the street, and you reach in his pockets and grab all his money." The casino loaned the 52-year-old money, but he put a stop-payment order on the casino credits he was issued, and now his lawyer says the casino plans to come after him for the debt, the AP reports.

Nevada law prohibits casinos from allowing a visibly intoxicated person to gamble or serving them complimentary drinks, and Johnston says he was blackout drunk and should not have been served more beverages or allowed to borrow or wager the money. Johnston—who says he was invited to stay at the Downtown Grand by a casino host, Fox 5 Vegas notes—was playing table games, and his lawyer says he was so drunk he "couldn't read [his] cards," yet the casino comped him dozens of drinks and continued to issue casino credits. The Gaming Control Board is also investigating, KSNV reports. In addition to seeing his debt forgiven, Johnston is seeking damages because he says the casino hurt his reputation.

  (Shutterstock)
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