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NJ Judge Says No Casino Duty to Stop Compulsive Gamblers

U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo dismissed a case this week brought against the Borgota and its parent company by a compulsive gambler who said the casinos were responsible for stopping his excesses. Sam Antar accused the Atlantic City casino of allowing him to gamble over $30 million over a nine-month period back in 2019 and further alleges that they also had a duty to stop him.

While the gaming industry as a whole makes plenty of effort to help compulsive gamblers keep from destroying their own lives, those actions, such as maintaining self-exclusion lists, are aimed at prevention. In her ruling, Judge Arleo pointed out that under current law, right or wrong, the casino’s responsibilities do not include a legal obligation to cut off a compulsive gambler.

In her relatively plain language ruling, reported on by Yahoo! Finance, Judge Arleo explained the situation saying, “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. As a matter of law, (the) defendants do not owe a negligence common law duty of care to plaintiffs.”

Antar’s case was similar to a 2008 case brought in New Jersey by Arelia Taveras of New York. Taveras lost $1 million and used the seven casinos she lost it at while making the same claims as Antar and was similarly dismissed by a judge who said, “She spent money on the bona fide chance that she might win more money. In short, she gambled. The mere fact that defendants profited from her misfortune, while lamentable, does not establish a cognizable claim in the law.”

Lamenting his loss, Antar called for new legislation aimed at helping problem gamblers saying, “This is not just about me; this is about all the people across this country who have this addiction. When are we as a country going to address this?”