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.

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Showing 3 of 58 comments
Mar 7, 2014 11:53 AM CST
I'm sure this is a legit case, but what if he woke up and was $500,000 up. Could the casino have a point to take his winnings away?
Mar 6, 2014 2:40 PM CST
Foxwoods Casino was giving me free, top shelf scotch one night, and I lost $100 bucks extremely fast at the roulette table. Lesson learned. I guess the amount a person needs to lose before they learn, is different for everyone.
Mar 6, 2014 1:38 PM CST
As a Blackjack player I have to say if he couldn't read his cards there is no way they should have let him gamble. I'm sure this isn't the first time a casino has taken advantage of a clearly excessively intoxicated guest. Now because of greed they have lost a whale and maybe a few more that learned of this fleecing - I personally won't be playing at this casino.