New Jersey’s DGE Says Golden Nugget Baccarat Game Was Legal
The case regarding the unshuffled cards in the mini Baccarat game at the Golden Nugget in December 2012 has taken yet another interesting turn as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement have sided with the players and ruled that the game in question was in fact legal.
What this means for the two year court case is, as yet, unclear but it may tilt any future rulings in favor of the players as the strongest defense the Golden Nugget had was that the game was illegal due to the cards being unshuffled and therefore favored the players who were quick to capitalize on the situation.
In a letter to the plaintiffs, the DGE wrote: “The Division has determined that the game offered by the Golden Nugget on April 30, 2012 at table MB-802 was a legal and valid game under the New Jersey Casino Control act. There is absolutely no evidence that the players or casino personnel involved in the game were involved in any sort of collusion, cheating or manipulation to affect the results of the game”.
The Golden Nugget had asked for the game to be ruled as illegal to prevent having to pay out the money owed to the players who still have the casinos chips as well as regain the money that was cashed out by some of the players. But, even if they won that lawsuit, they would still have another hanging over their heads as some of the players have filed countersuits which include discrimination based on race and false imprisonment.
The DGE ruled in favor of the players as they claimed that the Golden Nugget had ample time to switch out the cards used in the game as they had been monitoring the situation for over 3 hours trying to foil what they saw as an extremely sophisticated cheating scheme. Their failure to act was the defining characteristic in the DGE’s decision to rule the game as legal.
The unshuffled cards were purchased from Gemaco Inc and shipped to the Golden Nugget on the pretext of being pre-shuffled. But, a mistake by an employee in Gemaco’s Kansas City branch led the cards to be sent to the casino. Only the Baccarat players themselves noticed that the cards had not been shuffled despite the game being under intense scrutiny by dealers, pit bosses, surveillance staff and even casino managers.
With the other court cases coming up in the next month, Judge Allen Littlefield, who took over from now retired Judge James Isman, has allowed the gamblers to continue the discovery process. This could lead to even more revelations when the case goes to trial towards the end of October. While the legitimacy of the game can no longer be questioned, the other court cases, possibly the more serious ones, will begin soon.
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