IBJNews

Indiana Supreme Court rulings uphold casino rights

Associated Press
September 30, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court issued a pair of split rulings Thursday bolstering the rights of casinos by ruling against a woman who said a riverboat preyed on her gambling addiction and a card counter who sued for the right to play blackjack.

Jenny Kephart of Nashville, Tenn., filed a lawsuit against Caesars Indiana in 2007 after the Ohio River casino near Louisville, Ky., sued her to recover $125,000 that she had lost in a single night of gambling in 2006. The casino is now Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

Kephart said the casino enticed her to gamble with free meals and rooms, and money on credit. It even sent a car to drive her from Tennessee to Indiana, she said.

But the court ruled 4-1 that problem gamblers have the responsibility to look after themselves and casinos can't be expected to protect them if they don't. The ruling said the state allowed compulsive gamblers to have themselves banned from casinos, and it was up to gamblers to take advantage of the program.

"The existence of the voluntary exclusion program suggests the legislature intended pathological gamblers to take personal responsibility to prevent and protect themselves against compulsive gambling. The legislature did not require casinos to identify and refuse service to pathological gamblers who did not self-identify," wrote Justice Robert Rucker.

Justice Brent Dickson dissented, saying that casinos still have a common-law obligation to protect their customers.

"Nowhere in Indiana's statutory system of gambling regulation is there any provision that expressly or unmistakably abrogates Indiana's common law requiring business operators to exercise reasonable care for the safety of their customers and subjecting them to accountability in damages for failing to do so," Dickson wrote.

Kephart's attorney, Terry Noffsinger of Evansville, said he agreed with Dickson. Attorneys for the casino did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

"This case might have been the last shot to put some meaningful practical limits on what casinos can do to people who have a serious medical problem," Noffsinger said.

In the second case, Dickson also dissented in the 3-1 decision that upheld a casino's right to ban a card counter from its blackjack table. Rucker abstained from that case.

Grand Victoria Casino and Resort at Rising Sun banned Thomas Donovan in 2006.

The retired computer programmer from Indianapolis, who said he'd won about $65,000 playing blackjack since 1999, then sued. The case drew the attention of Gov. Mitch Daniels, who said he was rooting for Donovan because he used his intelligence and skill, not luck, to win.

But the court ruled Thursday that businesses have a common-law right to exclude a visitor or customer, subject only to applicable civil rights laws.

"This long-standing common law right of private property owners extends to the operator of a riverboat casino that wishes to exclude a patron for employing strategies designed to give the patron a statistical advantage over the casino," Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. wrote.

Dickson disagreed, saying that casinos exist in Indiana only by permission of the state Legislature, which expects them to serve the general public.

"Permitting a casino to restrict its patrons only to those customers who lack the skill and ability to play such games well intrudes upon principles of fair and equal competition and provides unfair financial advantages and rewards to casino operators," Dickson wrote.

Attorneys for both sides in the case didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT