Louisiana take on 'too drunk to gamble' suit - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana take on 'too drunk to gamble' suit

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Too drunk to gamble? That's the claim of a California man suing a Las Vegas casino he says continued to serve him drinks and loan him money after he was so drunk he suffered a blackout.
The man, Mark Johnston of California, lost a half million dollars. 

"They served me all the drinks. They should have cut me off," Johnston told a reporter in Las Vegas.

It's hard to imagine getting so drunk one would borrow a half million dollars, gamble it away and not even remember, but that's Johnston's claim.

"I am not a sore loser. I've lost a half a million. I've lost $800-thousand. I've lost a lot of money; I've won a lot of money. This has nothing to do that," said Johnston.

He says the gaming laws in Las Vegas prohibit giving drinks to someone in the condition he was in.

"This is about... almost killing me," he said. Johnston says he shouldn't have to pay back the debt.

How would such a situation be handled in Louisiana? Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones says the laws are very similar to those in Las Vegas. He says casinos are obligated to have a plan and follow it, when it comes to customers who are drinking or gambling excessively.

"The casinos have to have a plan in place, where they train their employees. They have to be vigilant in how they carry out that plan in identifying problem individuals in the casino," said Jones.

He says such allegations against a casino would be referred to state police for investigation. Their findings would be provided to the board, and the board can take action. 

"If we find a casino operator or licensee had failed to be vigilant in carrying out any aspect of their plan and permitted this sort of thing to happen, and the evidence was in favor of the patron, they can be fined $5000, $10,000, all the way up to $20,000. They could lose their license," said Jones.

He says activity on casino floors is picked up and recorded with high resolution digital cameras. Still, he says people who drink too much and lose money have to take responsibility for their actions.

"Nine our of ten times, the casinos are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Most courts in the cases that have come forward have not been very favorable to customers who allege, it wasn't my fault. They gave me too much to drink," said Jones.

He also said those who suffer from a compulsive gambling addiction can be barred from casinos and will be denied admission for up to five years.

For more information on dealing with compulsive gambling in Louisiana click HERE.

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