Links to Media Coverage of Casino Abuse of Patrons

Security casinos las vegas

Casino security and common sense

Eject, Evict, Trespass and 86, by Alan W. Zajic,
Global Gaming Business Magazine

It would be good if casino security always followed the common sense approach suggested by Mr. Zajic.  The industry would save itself millions of dollars by avoiding most of the lawsuits and other problems detailed on this page.  Why won't they listen to Mr. Zajic?

Sunset Station’s false imprisonment of two “good casino customers”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote, “This is a case about a failure to take responsibility.” After dragging the case out until just before jury trial, Sunset Station eventually privately settled with the two patrons involved (there is no indication that they were advantage players).

Plaintiffs’ attorneys named Shift Manager Vinny Gilvarry as an individual defendant. Mr. Gilvarry tried to place the blame on others:

Page 3, starting at Line 5:

Gilvarry points the finger at his supervisor, Alida Del Fonte for the arrest.(*) See Exh. D, Depo. of Gilvarry, 3l:6-11. Conversely, security shift supervisor David Clark and security officer Joseph Emerson point the finger at surveillance agent Jose Gonzales and Gilvarry. See Exh. G, Security Report, l; Exh. F, Depo. of Clark, 22:18-23:8; Exh. G, Security Report, Emerson Voluntary Statement. In an attempt to further shift blame, Gonzales points the finger at Gilvarry. See Exh. E, Surveillance Report, l.

(*) The Court will note that despite the fact that Gilvarry denies ordering the custody, Defendants admit in their motion for summary judgment that he ordered the detention. See Def. Mtn,4-2l-23.

The link below is the Opposition filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys to a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Sunset’s and Gilvarry’s attorneys. The document provides much detail. Defendants’ motion was denied by the Court.

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment

Nevada Supreme Court rules casinos can exclude at will and exclusion applies to their entire premises

On a 4-3 vote, the Nevada Supreme Court found that "... gaming establishments generally have the right to exclude any person from their premises..." The ruling went against the interests of advantage players and the general public, in favor of the narrower interests of casino owners. Below is a link to the Opinion, which also briefly explains the case for those who are not familiar with it. The three dissenting Justices appeared to understand the importance of this issue to society in general; the majority ignored it.This decision has the potential to affect a wide array of issues more vital than keeping disliked casino patrons out of hotels owned by casino companies.

Being able to keep people out of public meetings and conventions because they may have skill at casino game(s), or any other whim of those in charge, opens the door to all types of potential new abuses by casino owners and managers, including such things as banning from political meetings and conventions delegates with whom they disagree.

The Plaintiff/Appellant filed a Petition for Rehearing, but it was denied. 

Link to Opinion

Link to Nevada Supreme Court Appellate Case Management System

Link to previous Green Chip thread on this topic

Maryland Live! Casino and Anne Arundel County, Maryland police officers settle with falsely imprisoned card counter

The casino, police officers, and card counter Justin Mills reached a settlement to their federal lawsuit involving the false imprisonment of Mills and the wrongful behavior of casino employees and police.

link: Casino and local police settle with falsely imprisoned card counter

Settlement in $160.5 million jury verdict for patron attacked by security guards at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas nightclub

Lawyers for a former New York hedge fund manager who was attacked by security officers at a Cosmopolitan nightclub reached an undisclosed settlement agreement Friday, essentially wiping out a $160.5 million verdict . David Moradi’s attorneys had asked the same jury for an additional $483 million in punitive damages but settled with the casino, Marquee nightclub and Roof Deck Entertainment LLC in the midst of deliberations.
Settlement in Las Vegas Strip nightclub attack wipes out $160M verdict

False imprisonment of patrons costs Virgin River Mesquite $200,000

Two skilled patrons were victims of false imprisonment in their hotel room by Virgin River Casino guards and the Mesquite Police Department. Though the imprisonment was for only about fifteen minutes, the jury found the actions of the defendants to be egregious enough to award $72,000 damages, with a settlement made with the casino for an additional $128,000 punitive damages. As part of the punitive damage settlement, Virgin River agreed not to appeal the general damages and not have the usual confidentiality clause contained in most settlements with casinos. All the documents are public records. The jury verdict additionally included about $300 for a chip-cashing refusal by the casino related to the incident.

Plaintiffs' attorneys Bob Nersesian and Thea Sankiewicz broke favorable new ground regarding ID laws and police behavior (or misbehavior). Mesquite Police Officer Southwick admitted on the stand that he wrongfully threatened to arrest the victims if they refused to show him ID that he then (illegally) turned over to Virgin River security guards, but said doing so is the policy of the department (demanded to be complied with by the Chief of Police ) in alleged trespassing incidents involving casinos, even when there is no reasonable suspicion of any criminal activity by the patrons.



Jury verdict:

virgin river.pdf

“Fearful” South Point security guard fires shot into windshield of occupied car in parking garage

South Point security guard fires shot during confrontation

Opinion By LVBear,

originally posted on

It's about two years after this sordid incident, but still nothing has been done, according to reliable sources.

Apparently nothing will be done. Criminal charges were not filed against the casino security guard. This is a particularly  shameful episode in a long history of shameful episodes involving casino security.

It's disturbing that some casino executive authorized these hapless casino guards to have real guns, especially in light of the recent guilty plea to manslaughter of a patron by a security guard at Eldorado Reno. It seems that like in their never-ending abuse of skilled patrons, the casino industry just will not learn to rein in the security thugs. The lawsuits will continue to pile up.

The South Point idiot who fired the shot has already learned from Las Vegas police who use the “I was scared” excuse for maiming and killing. Shame, shame on the South Point for letting guards have guns. This cowardly guard should probably be fired, and perhaps prosecuted for attempted murder. If he was so “fearful,” all he had to do is run away. If letting these bozo guards have guns didn’t endanger the public so much, it would be laughable. I hope the public will stay away from South Point until they stop this idiocy.

It is puzzling and interesting to note that apparently Metro has clamped down on information it will release about this incident. So far, Metro has not publicly identified the two arrestees and their charges. No word if the guard was one of the people arrested. The entire story needs to come out, not just the scant information that was available when the R-J article was written, so the public can assess what level of danger it has been subjected to by the apparently stupid actions of this guard. There might be circumstances under which the shooting was appropriate. But if information is hidden from the public, we can only assume the worst — that it is as it appears.

UPDATE: After inquiry was made, Metro stated that there are no dash-cam or body-cam videos of the police response to the incident. This is hard to believe, because "shots fired" calls typically draw several cars and officers; not one of them had their cameras rolling? Amazing.


Eldorado Reno guard pleads guilty to manslaughter in killing of patron

A Reno casino security guard accused of using excessive force in the death of a patron who was being trespassed, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to six months in jail and $5,000 restitution. Stefen Johnson, 24, was initially charged with second-degree murder in the Dec. 15, 2013 death of Victor Victoria-Acevedo, 23.

Cheating of patron by Bally's and Resorts Tunica detailed in MS Gaming Hearing Examiner's Decision

Casino managers cheated a patron out of earned free play and at a subsequent drawing. From the hearing examiner's decision:

Obviously, the actions of (the casinos) in this matter grossly violate the declared public policy of this state as it relates to gaming. The decisions made by (the casinos) were calculated, dishonest, immoral and done to purposefully distort the outcomes of advertised promotions. This type of disingenuousness serves no purpose other than to erode public confidence and trust in the gaming industry.


Video clips of Harrah's Atlantic City security guard beatings

A Florida family and two others have filed lawsuits claiming casino security acted like thuggish goon squads and attacked them during disputes at the famed gambling mecca. In one case, a family said, their 17-year-old daughter's nose was broken.

Cosmopolitan paid $25,000 in false imprisonment settlement

In a document filed with the United States District Court, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas admitted it paid $25,000 in an attempt to settle its part of a lawsuit filed by a female victim of false imprisonment on its premises. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du previously found two officers of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department liable for the false imprisonment of Chentile Goodman.


Federal judge enters Partial Summary Judgment against two Metro police officers for false imprisonment over illegal detention at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas; Metro eventually paid $82,500 to the victim

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which has been under scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department over excessive shootings and other misbehavior, was dealt more bad publicity when U.S. District Judge Miranda Du issued a Partial Summary Judgment in a civil case against two officers accused of illegally detaining and imprisoning a casino visitor to the Cosmopolitan.  Metro eventually paid over $80,000 in a settlement to the victim.


Las Vegas police pay $80,000 to woman falsely accused of prostitution

Video Poker "Hackers" Cleared of Federal Charges

Two gamblers who took advantage of a software bug to win a small fortune from casino video poker machines are without the threat of federal prison hovering over them like a carving knife. A federal judge in Las Vegas dismissed federal charges against the men, ending a nearly two-year-long legal battle over when beating the house becomes a crime.

Australian casino pays $95k to manhandled patron

Casino Canberra has agreed to a $95,000 payment to a young patron who was manhandled by security staff in 2006.

Lawsuits pile up as alleged casino assaults continue

In a downtown Las Vegas office, CD cases are stacked haphazardly, like an exhaustive, meticulously labeled music collection. These aren't albums but rather, casino surveillance footage showing altercations between customers and casino security. This is a town where people are wary of making enemies of casinos, yet Bob Nersesian has made a career out of suing casinos and their security for assault and battery on behalf of customers.

Gambler wins $250,000 lawsuit against Imperial Palace

A Clark County District Court jury returned a verdict of $250,000 in favor of plaintiff/victim Chad Johnson against Harrahs Imperial Palace Inc. and its former Security Chief John Bezrutczyk, in a case involving false imprisonment and fabricated claims that Johnson, a former employee, had attacked Bezrutczyk. Bezrutczyk was involved in a previous six-figure jury award when he was Security Chief at the now-defunct Frontier and participated in another false imprisonment, that time of a skilled blackjack player. Punitive damages were subsequently settled by confidential agreement.

Patron wins $200,000 jury verdict against Venetian for false imprisonment and wrongful eviction from his hotel room

An incident that began over a petty traffic incident in the valet area escalated when guards falsely arrested a patron and the front desk manager wanted the patron evicted from his paid-in-advance room.


Patron hassled by nightclub wins award

A patron who purchased "bottle service" at Tao night club at the Venetian was hassled during a confrontation with a bouncer.


Casinos, police, state officials often intimidate legal patrons, lawyers say

"By what legal authority do guards detain, handcuff or arrest anybody who has done nothing illegal and is in the process of leaving the premises? It doesn't exist," said Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel of the Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.


Official requests 'guidance' -- Casinos' use of force at issue

A Nevada Gaming Control Board member is asking the attorney general for "guidance" about the limitations on the use of force by casino security personnel and the legal rights of advantage gamblers.


Nevada Supreme Court upholds Harrah's ban of card counter

A Las Vegas resident who was banned from Harrah's casinos because of alleged card counting lost an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court on December 6, 2011.

Nevada judge ruled casinos do not have the right to eject patrons at will

In the criminal case from which a public record is linked below, Jerry's Nugget in North Las Vegas believed the defendant was a skilled patron. The patron was not disruptive or disorderly. Through attorney Bob Nersesian, the defense to the criminal trespassing charge essentially was that Nevada casinos do NOT have the right to eject patrons without cause, therefore the crime of trespassing did not occur. The judge agreed.

Order to Dismiss.pdf

The Wilkinson trespassing case

The initial case was The State of Nevada v. Annette Wilkinson also known as Jackie Owens, case number 0662-78M in the Justice Court of Las Vegas Township, Clark County, Nevada, on 9 March 1978. On 23 March 1978, an appeal was filed in the District Court. The Court concluded that the criminal trespass statute, NRS 207.200, is unconstitutional in its application against this defendant, and the case was dismissed. Note that this case did not set a binding precedent.


Court: Board, agent immune from suit

But the gambler then filed suit against the resort, the Control Board and Hearn charging false imprisonment, assault and battery, and conversion and conspiracy.


Griffin book producer files for Chapter 11, citing suit

Griffin Investigations Inc., which distributes lists of suspected cheaters and card counters to casinos, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a defamation lawsuit filed against the company by gamblers who said they were improperly detained at the Caesars Palace and Imperial Palace casinos, called cheaters and arrested.


Jury: New Frontier must pay $110,000 to card counter

The jury found the New Frontier, its security chief and a security guard liable for false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

Regulators side with gamblers in cases of confiscated chips

Over the past few months, Nevada regulators have ordered the MGM Grand casino to pay two gamblers whose chips were confiscated by the city's biggest gambling hall after employees said they couldn't verify whether the players had won them.

Gaming Control Board agents fabricated crimes to aid casino

The effect of this ruling is that police officers are given carte blanche to make up reasons to arrest people in Nevada with impunity. Simply, police officers now have the discretion to knowingly lie in police reports, knowingly lie in bringing charges against citizens and force imprisonment without legal cause. Then, when the victim seeks justice, the police officers in Nevada can claim and receive immunity from the lawsuit.


Gambler wins $400,000 verdict in suit against Imperial Palace

Clark County District Judge Lee Gates has unsealed a $400,000 verdict a jury made in favor of advantage gambler James Grosjean against the Imperial Palace in a wrongful imprisonment suit.


EDITORIAL: Playing by the rules

Imagine what would happen to this town's biggest industry if word got out that visiting players who break no rules or laws can be handcuffed, threatened and locked up for hours against their will -- with impunity -- for nothing more than playing card games well enough to win.


Attorney sues casinos for using card counting system

A Las Vegas attorney who has represented dozens of card counting clients filed another lawsuit Monday, this time to stop Nevada casinos from using a computerized card counting system that boosts the house's odds of winning at blackjack.


EDITORIAL: Are gamblers being fleeced?

The gaming industry's viability -- and the state's economy -- hinge on the premise that gamblers get a fair shake. Even the slightest hint that fancy shufflers and other glittering casino technologies can be used to swing the outcome of games is a black eye for Nevada.


Letter to the district attorney

A letter Bob Nersesian sent to the Clark County DA regarding the abuse of casino patrons.

Venetian to pay $1 million; Casino admits 'serious violations' in rigging giveaway for high rollers

The Venetian agreed to pay $1 million in fines and investigation costs to settle a first-of-its-kind complaint that the resort had fixed promotional contests to favor specific Asian high rollers.


Station found former Venetian executive suitable

An executive fired by The Venetian in connection with a 2002 contest-rigging scandal is working in a top job at a small Las Vegas casino.


Figures in Venetian contest-rigging land at Indian casino

Two of the casino executives fired by the Las Vegas Strip's Venetian resort for their involvement in the rigging of three 2002 promotional contests are still working in the casino business.




Nevada firms win key ruling on liability

A sharply divided Nevada Supreme Court has given Nevada corporations further protections from civil lawsuits brought because of the wrongdoing of their employees.

The court ruled that the Gold Coast casino in Las Vegas was not liable for $372,000 in punitive damages awarded in the case of a black man who was severely beaten by security officers and victimized by racial comments while the sergeant-in-charge looked on. The ruling was the result of a 4-3 decision, and three justices who dissented had strong objections to the ruling.


Man returns lost wallet only to be handcuffed by casino guard

Payne said he believes his charitable act was turned into something sinister by a power-wielding security guard.


Tourist's case serves as cautionary tale for security guards on Strip

The verdict was swift Dec. 13, less than three hours to decide that the guard and the Luxor should pay $203,230 and Mandalay Bay, which evicted her from her room after the incident at the Luxor, should pay $100,000. Then jurors went back to discuss punitive damages.


Romanski vs. Motor City Casino et al.

The lasting impression this case leaves is one of egregious misconduct -- gratuitous abuse of power, sanctioned by a casino, that left a 72-year-old woman the victim
of needless indignities and humiliation. In moral terms, the casino’s conduct was significantly reprehensible; it surely was reprehensible enough to warrant a substantial punitive damages award.

Ex-Mirage official pleads guilty in privacy case

Former Mirage Resorts Inc. corporate security manager Eugene Harding has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he conspired with a government official to illegally access an individual's personal tax records while Harding was employed at the Mirage.


Judge tosses gambler's conviction

A judge threw out a conviction against an advantage gambler and professional personal trainer who was convicted earlier this year of disorderly conduct for allegedly resisting arrest while being detailed, handcuffed and roughed up at the El Cortez.


Jury backs police in lawsuit; Advantage gambler sought damages after arrest on disorderly conduct charges

A federal jury ruled in favor of three Las Vegas police officers Tuesday in a civil case filed by a professional gambler they arrested in 2002 at the El Cortez.


Advantage gambler cleared of charges

Tobiasson interrupted testimony by Chris Tovia, a security officer at Mandalay Bay, to view a tape of the alleged incidents provided by the resort. She then said there was "absolutely" no credible evidence to support the state's case that Dougherty had committed battery against security guards and was trespassing.


Carey vs. Ramada Express et al

Carey sued Agent Spendlove, the State of Nevada (the "State") and the Nevada Gaming Control Board (the "Board") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that Spendlove violated his Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by searching Carey's shoes without probable cause and by arresting Carey for refusing to identify himself. Carey also brought claims under state law for false imprisonment and battery.

Palms patron files suit over security incident

"The next thing I knew my sleeve was torn off as someone was pulling me to the ground," he said. "All I felt was someone grabbing the back of my head and someone else grabbing my feet. They were trying to pound my head into the pavement. I could feel someone big on my back with his knee. It came out of left field."

A Clark County District Court jury subsequently returned a verdict of approx $131,900 for Mr. Noble.

District Court case number 03-A-473605-C


Winners Not Wanted at Greektown

If you are a skilled video poker player you are not wanted at the Greektown Casino in Detroit Michigan. Apparently the Greektown’ advertising slogan, "Let the Party Begin at Greektown" should be changed to “The Party is Over if You Win at Greektown.”

 Fall of the Roman Empire

In an overreaction of thermonuclear proportions to my recent good luck, Harrah’s has barred me from playing in the World Series of Poker, and in fact from even setting foot in any of their hotels.

Chips no longer good as cash

 If $5,000 casino chips could talk, what would this one say? It might explain its recent travels and how it has ended up in the custody of a cashier at the MGM Grand, who questioned whether it really belonged to the gambler who turned it in.

Regulators side with gamblers in case of confiscated chips

 At issue is a regulation that allows Nevada casinos to confiscate chips if the casino "knows or reasonably should know" that the person with the chips isn't a customer.

Gambling with your liberty -- Illegal detentions ignored by state

Nevada's casino industry continues to act as if it is above the law. Time and again, patrons legally playing with an advantage suffer imprisonment and even beatings at the hands of casino security personnel. It's well past time that something be done to stop these incidents.


Casino Abuse of Skilled Players

The video includes frightening footage obtained from casino surveillance cameras of a law abiding, skilled player being handcuffed, forcibly backroomed and detained by casino employees.

Great Grandmother Strip-Searched At N.Y. Casino

A great-grandmother from Mount Vernon is filing suit for allegedly being strip searched at the Yonkers Raceway casino.


Federal jury awards $729,000 to victim of patron abuse by Hollywood Casino in Tunica

A federal jury returned a verdict totaling over $729,000 in a case involving the abuse of a patron by security personnel at Tunica's Hollywood Casino and a deputy of the Tunica County Sheriff's office.

The victim, who was suspected of counting cards, a lawful activity, but not suspected of any illegal activity, was wrongfully detained by Hollywood Casino employees, who instructed cashiers to refuse to cash the victim's chips unless the victim provided them with his identification.

The victim refused to do so and asked to be paid so that he could leave the casino. Instead, casino employees called the Sheriff's department. Deputy Dornae Mosby responded and demanded identification from the victim, who complied with the deputy's request but instructed the deputy not to show the identification to casino personnel. The deputy ignored this instruction, and allowed casino personnel to take possession of the victim's identification and photocopy it, despite there being no legal basis for so doing. The victim was arrested by Mosby for disorderly conduct. The charge was subsequently dismissed.

The victim sued Hollywood casino, Tunica County, and Deputy Mosby. The jury awarded him $25,000 from Deputy Mosby individually for the violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. The jury found the casino liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, conversion, and trespass to chattels. The final two items involve the wrongful taking of plaintiff's identification by casino personnel. The jury awarded $103,703 in damages to the victim from the casino, plus punitive damages of $600,550.

Case: US District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Delta Division -- Civil Action No. 2:06CV204P-A Grosch v. Tunica County et al.

Link to court ruling

Probe highlights responsible gaming issue

"He was loud and unpleasant, sometimes throwing his cards, sometimes walking away from the table mid-hand," Rogers said in an e-mail to Harrah's. "Eventually, his antics caused pit personnel to instruct security guards to stand by the table to keep bystanders back. The other players who were at the table left, and the drunk was playing alone at a de facto private table. Amazingly, the cocktail waitress kept bringing him alcohol."

Attorney wagers against casinos -- and wins

For many gamblers, Bob Nersesian is a saint who has come up a winner tackling the cases of advantage gamblers who claim their civil rights have been trampled by casinos. For some gaming executives, he's a scourge who's persuaded judges and juries to protect individual rights rather than the odds of the house over players.


Professional gamblers and the casino industry

A Las Vegas City Life story covering the 11th Las Vegas Green Chip party.



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