Gambler files lawsuit over $500K Vegas blackout

Mar 7, 2014 8:07 AM

A Southern California man has sued a Las Vegas casino after he lost $500,000 on blackjack and pai gow over Super Bowl weekend, contending he shouldn’t be responsible for his losses because he was blackout drunk.

In the lawsuit, Mark Johnston, 52, of Ventura, accuses the Downtown Grand casino of plying him with drinks and lending him money so he could keep playing.

Johnston, a longtime gambler, acknowledges that he went on a drinking binge before he ever reached the casino floor.

On Jan. 30, the lawsuit says, Johnston had two to four drinks at the Burbank airport, one drink on the hourlong flight to Las Vegas, one drink prepared by his limousine driver when he arrived, another drink while riding inside the limo, and then “several more” drinks at dinner shortly after checking into his hotel.

Johnston says he does not remember what happened after dinner.

That’s when Johnston embarked on a 17-hour gambling run at the Downtown Grand, during which time he drank 20 or more additional drinks, the lawsuit says — and lost $500,000, which was made possible by credit the casino extended to Johnston.

The lawsuit says that while Johnston was piling up losses, he was so drunk that he couldn’t read his cards and was dropping his chips.

Nevada law forbids casinos from allowing visibly drunk patrons to gamble, as well as from giving free drinks to obviously drunk customers.

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