SW Legal studies in Business

Gambling Casino May Not Deviate from Gaming Regulations Set by State
Description

Appeals court held that gambling casinos are subject to detailed regulations about how gambling is to be operated. Casinos may not change the rules, such as eject gamblers who are successful because of their skill.

Topic Administrative Law
Key Words

Gambling Regulation; Card Counting

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Grand Victoria owns and operates a riverboat casino in Indiana. One game offered is blackjack or twenty-one. Donovan plays blackjack at casinos and enhanced his odds of winning by card counting. The casino excluded him from playing blackjack, presumably because he was a consistent winner, but said he could play other games. Donovan filed a complaint, requesting an order that Grand Victoria not be allowed to exclude him from playing blackjack. Grand Victoria countered that although card counting is not illegal, a privately-owned business could exclude a patron from its premises for any reason. That is, the casino had the right to bar Donovan from playing but not give any reason, as it had the right to bar any person from the business. Donovan countered that Grand Victoria was obligated to offer him the game of blackjack according to the rules of the Indiana Gaming Commission. The trial court held for Grand Victoria; Donovan appealed.

Decision

Reversed. The Indiana Gaming Regulations provide an exhaustive set of rules for games, including blackjack. The rules do not prohibit card counting. Hence, the casino cannot exclude a patron from playing blackjack because the person has the ability to count cards. The casino never submitted a proposed rule that would prohibit card counting or allow the casino to eject patrons who were card counting. Public policy subjects gambling to strict regulation, and the State Lottery Commission has exclusive authority to set the rules of casino games. Patrons have the right to rely on the rules issued by the Commission.

Citation Donovan v. Grand Victoria Casino, ---N.E.2d--- (2009 WL 3517633, Ct. App., Ind., 2009)

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