Tags: gambler | sues | casino | drunk

Gambler Sues Casino After Losing $500,000 While Playing Blackout Drunk

By Clyde Hughes   |   Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 07:35 AM

A Southern California gambler is suing a Las Vegas casino, claiming it took advantage of him while he was blackout drunk and ran up a half-million dollar debt during Super Bowl weekend.

Mark Johnston, of Ventura, Calif., took his girlfriend to Las Vegas at the invitation of the Downtown Grand casino, according to the Ventura Star. Johnston, the former co-owner of a Los Angeles car dealership, claims that the casino loaned him money and allowed him to play, despite the fact that he was visibly intoxicated. 

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Nevada law prohibits casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons from gambling and from serving them comped drinks, according to the Associated Press.

Johnston says he was visibly drunk while playing pai gow and blackjack for hours at the Grand, formerly known as the Lady Luck Hotel and Casino and is in the old portion of Las Vegas. His attorney Sean Lyttle said he will make his case with surveillance video and eyewitness testimony.

The Ventura Star reported that Johnston said he consumed 20 beverages within 17 hours and was unable to read his cards, was dropping chips on the floor, and was slurring his speech excessively at the time.

Johnston, 52, accuses the casino of comping his drinks continually while he dished out hundreds of thousands of dollars. It wasn't until Sunday, Feb. 2, that he learn how much he had squandered.

"It's certainly an extraordinary case," Lyttle told the Associated Press. "This is not a story that I've ever heard before, where someone was blackout intoxicated where they couldn't read their cards, and yet a casino continued to serve them drinks and issue them more markers. It's a very heavy-handed and unusual approach that we haven’t seen in this town in a long time."

In 2006, the Ventura Star reported that Johnston sued Mercedes-Benz USA after spending $1.7 million on a special roadster he and his brother could not get to work. Johnston, a former auto mechanic, owned Grand Prix Motors with his brother in Los Angeles.

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