Gamblers Claim Card Shuffler at SugarHouse Casino Caused $250k Loss

  • Two gamblers are suing the SugarHouse Casino, together claiming losses of  $250,000 resulting from malfunctioning card shufflers and deck problems
  • The suit comes just a few months after the casino was hit with a fine by the state Gaming Control Board for dealing cards with "illegitimate" decks
  • Spokesperson for the SugarHouse Casino denies the claims in the lawsuit
Two gamblers have claimed in a lawsuit that SugarHouse Casino used malfunctioning card shufflers for table games.
Two gamblers have claimed in a lawsuit that SugarHouse Casino used malfunctioning card shufflers for table games.

The SugarHouse Casino of Pennsylvania has been named in a lawsuit filed by two frequent gamblers of the property. Anthony Mattia and William Vespe filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, claiming a total loss of $250,000 (£197,350) resulting from deck and shuffler issues. The two men claim the casino did not provide a level playing field for the card games.

“Malfunctioning” card shufflers

The law suit claims that the casino used malfunctioning card shufflers at the card tables where the men were playing. It also claims that the decks had too few or too many cards in play. Mattia is claiming that he lost around $147,000 (£116,000) at the casino during the time frame in which the incidents occurred. Vespe is claiming to have lost over $103,000 (£81,360).

The complainants accuse the SugarHouse Casino and Rush Street Gaming, the casino’s parent company, of negligence, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and other claims. The two men are seeking attorneys’ fees, the cost of the suit and damages. The amount of damages has not been revealed.

The suit comes just a few months after the state Gaming Control Board fined the casino for dealing cards from so-called “illegitimate decks.”

The board determined that casino employees did not address warning lights on the automated shufflers used in table games including mini-baccarat, poker and blackjack.

Attorney Conrad J Benedetto said: “Based on the fact that SugarHouse apparently had been using broken equipment and ‘illegitimate’ decks for at least seven months, we think it is fair to question the integrity of the thousands of card games that were played at SugarHouse at tables using that equipment and those decks.

Past problems

Back in October, the board fined the casino $100,000 (£79,000) for incidents taking place between May 2017 and January 2018 when warning lights on the shufflers were ignored. Cards were compromised during gameplay by the automatic shufflers. In some instances, dealers were using too many cards in decks or there were not enough cards.

The board found that during one poker tournament, the cards in a deck were sorted into a sequential order instead of being shuffled at random. The investigation did find that no collusion was in play. However, the casino fired two supervisors although one was reinstated after an appeal.

During an incident in May 2017, an employee of the casino found an automatic shuffler had 16 cards remaining inside. The cards were tracked back and were found to be missing from six decks that had been used for 122 hands of blackjack the day before.

For the most recent suit, the SugarHouse Casino denies the claims. A spokesperson for the company issued a statement that said the integrity of gaming operations for the casino was of the utmost importance. The casino has reportedly terminated the contracts of the employees responsible for these issues, or disciplined them.

The casino also stated that it has revised its procedures to ensure that the problems do not recur. SugarHouse denies the claims filed by the two men in the lawsuit and stated that it will not comment further because of the pending litigation.