Lawsuit Against PA Casino Over Card Decks Voluntarily Dismissed

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A federal lawsuit against Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino has come to an end.

According to court documents, attorneys for a pair of gamblers on July 11 notified the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that they were voluntarily dismissing their lawsuit, without prejudice. SugarHouse’s legal team argued in court documents that the federal court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the alleged claims.

The complaint was filed in May.

Gamblers Anthony Mattia of Philadelphia and William Vespe of New Jersey were seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees and other costs, over 2017 incidents involving gaming violations at SugarHouse. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board disciplined the casino in the form of fines last year. It’s not uncommon for the PGCB to levy fines against state casinos.

Regulators said that the casino had several incidents involving faulty card decks. In the lawsuit, Mattia said he suffered gambling losses of $147k between May 2017 and Jan. 1, 2018. Vespe lost about $103k during the same time period, the nine-page lawsuit said.

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While Mattia and Vespe said they had gambled at the casino during the time frame during which the regulatory violations occurred, they didn’t provide information as to what kind of losses they suffered as a direct result of the faulty card decks. It’s not known whether they had played with any of the “illegitimate” decks.

“Plaintiffs … do not allege any specific facts that establish they gambled and suffered ‘wagering losses’ on the same dates in which SugarHouse purportedly committed the infractions identified in the Complaint,” according to a memorandum in support of a request to dismiss the lawsuit.

Through their legal representation, Mattia and Vespe accused the casino of negligence, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Incidents

The suit listed several regulatory violations that SugarHouse was penalized for, including:

  • In May 2017, 122 blackjack hands were dealt with missing cards. Eight players were affected by the faulty blackjack decks, with seven of them losing money.
  • In September 2017, a poker dealer dealt 16 hands with two unshuffled decks after the automatic shuffler temporarily stopped working. The cards were dealt with the decks sorted in sequential and suited order. The incident happened during a tournament. No player was eliminated during the use of the unshuffled decks.
  • In an undated incident, 27 hands of Spanish 21 contained too many cards.

SugarHouse was fined by the PGCB for the incidents, under a consent agreement.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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