MGM Resorts bribed criminal to not report cheating, according to lawsuit
A New York City resident has filed a lawsuit against an Atlantic City casino, its parent company, and its online betting partner, alleging that he was repeatedly disconnected while gambling online and that he was paid bribes to keep him from reporting the malfunctions to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) during a nine-month period in which he wagered tens of millions of dollars.
In the lawsuit, Antar accuses the defendants of fraud, racketeering, and other offenses. His claim alleges that he was disconnected from online platforms hundreds of times, frequently while he had a winning hand that was automatically wiped out.
His lawyer, Christopher Gramiccioni, said Antar endured a disconnection rate of nearly 50% in the period covered by the lawsuit. He added that Antar had lost “easily hundreds of thousands of dollars” during those nine months. The attorney continued, “It's one thing if you have technical issues intermittently. It is quite another when you have them 50% of the time. The casino did not take corrective action as required. They kept doubling down and giving him $30,000 a month, feeding him extra money to try to avoid scrutiny by the regulatory agencies.”
Borgata and MGM both declined comment. Entain did not respond to inquiries.
Antar is a convicted felon who faces the possibility of further prison time for a scam in which he defrauded friends and family members of funds that he used to support his compulsive gambling habit. In his most recent instance, he admitted to stealing by fraud. He is the nephew of Eddie Antar, who started the Crazy Eddie electronics businesses in the 1970s and 1980s and cheated investors out of about $74 million. Eddie Antar died in 2016.
Sam Antar was sentenced to 21 months in prison in 2013 for defrauding victims of $225,000 through a fraudulent investment scam.
“I've been in prison once, and I'm probably facing prison again, and it all had to do with me not being able to admit to myself I was a compulsive gambler," Antar said to The Associated Press. “When I look at what I did, I'm sick about it. A lot of people have this problem and they need help.”
In his case, Antar alleges that he notified several employees and representatives of the companies about a major, recurrent disconnections problem, but that they intentionally left defective games available to the public because they were so profitable. According to him, he lodged complaints with local supervisors and VIP hosts, an online complaint tool, and even the president of the casino and the CEO of its parent business. He asserts that the businesses offered him incentives totalling about $30,000 per month to keep him playing and dissuade him from reporting issues with the games to the DGE.
Antar, who is not an advantage player, played live-dealer blackjack and other games for up to 24 hours at a time without taking a break, according to his complaint; he wagered over $5 million during a 16-day period in January 2020. During the nine months covered by the lawsuit, he placed over one hundred thousand online wagers.
Antar said employees had acknowledged that system failures were affecting other customers as well. Antar said one employee told him that “other players are not getting anywhere near what you are getting” in terms of compensation for being kicked offline by the system.
The lawsuit also mentions a text message from an MGM representative that said, “OK, let's do this: I need you (to) email me that we are closing the case and that you will no longer contact (the Borgata president) or the DGE about the case.”
“Suit: MGM paid problem gambler to not report online glitches” , Wayne Parry, Associated Press on abcnews.com, September 29, 2022.