8134 – The Wages of Debt


When you lose everything at the casino, can you sue the casino for making you lose everything?  This case involved a disbarred lawyer who sued three New Jersey casinos alleging they facilitated her gambling addiction and induced her to gamble away money belonging to her and to her clients.  She claimed casino employees continued to allow her to gamble despite a clear indication that she was a compulsive gambler.  She was gambling 5 days per week, losing an average of $5,000 per hour, and in one weekend she lost $150,000.  She claimed New Jersey landowners have a legal duty to make their premises safe for invitees, and these casinos were definitely unsafe for compulsive gamblers.  But the Court said the heightened duty applies only to dangerous conditions on the premises and casinos do not have a duty to rescue compulsive gamblers from themselves. The Court said her theory would impose a duty on shopping malls and credit card companies to exclude compulsive shoppers and defies both common law and common sense. So when you wager your wages, you’re out of luck and you can bet on it.

Arelia Margarita Taveras vs. Resorts International Hotels, Inc., et al, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, 9-19-2008, Bumb, J.