Pennsylvania Gamblers File $250K Lawsuit Against SugarHouse Casino

May 29th, 2019 2.00pm

After collectively losing $250K, two Pennsylvania gamblers filed a lawsuit against SugarHouse casino, claiming malfunctioning shuffling systems and tampered card decks. According to Anthony Mattia and William Vespe, a series of irregularities cost these two patrons tens of thousands of dollars during a 9-month period.

“Breach of Contract, Negligence, and Unjust Enrichment”

The official complaint against the operator has been submitted a week ago and it refers to the card-shuffling incidents that were recorded from May 2017 to January 2018. Due to multiple complaints about the automatic shufflers (used at poker, baccarat, and blackjack tables), Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board fined the casino with $100K. The dealers were even accused of using decks with a wrong number of cards as well as incorrectly setting the shufflers. In September 2017, during a poker tournament, the cards were arranged in a sequential order instead of being properly shuffled, which compromised the integrity of both the game and the casino.

Another incident was recorded in October when the dealer failed to take appropriate actions and address the warning lights on the shufflers. On a different (equally unsettling) occasion, a casino employee discovered over a dozen cards inside an out-of-service automatic shuffler. The investigators later determined that the cards were missing from a total of 6 decks that had been previously used in 46 blackjack rounds, across 122 hands.

It was also discovered that extra cards were used at a Spanish 21 table; the 10s were not removed from the deck and some 18 hands were dealt with the 10s still inside the shoe. This violation alone has cost the casino $12.5K in penalties.

SugarHouse Denies All Allegations

As stated in the joint lawsuit, the operator’s blatant disregard for the rules and gambling ethics resulted in severe losses for the affected parties – around $147K for Mattia and over $103K for Vespe. The players hope for compensation that would cover their attorney’s costs, expenses of the suit, and alleviate the pain and suffering triggered by the casino’s unfair advantage.

“Based on the fact that SugarHouse apparently has been using broken equipment and ‘illegitimate’ decks for at least 7 months, we think it is fair to question the integrity of the thousands of card games that were played at SugarHouse at tables using that equipment and those decks”, stated Conrad J. Benedetto, the plaintiffs’ attorney.

The allegations are being dismissed by the SugarHouse operator, and the company representative has denied the claims in a formal statement: “The integrity of our gaming operations is of utmost importance. We have disciplined or terminated the employees responsible and revised procedures to help prevent a recurrence. We deny the claims made by the individuals in the lawsuit and cannot comment further on pending litigation”, advised the spokesperson.

Is the Reputation of SugarHouse and Rush Street Gaming Tarnished for Good?

Unfortunately, some of the recent events do not support the operator’s supposed concern for the “gaming operations integrity”.

In September 2018, the casino was fined for serving alcoholic beverages to a heavily intoxicated patron who received 17 complimentary drinks while playing at a Pai Gow table. The gambler was later escorted from the casino premises and arrested for creating a public disturbance. Sadly, the player was only denied service after he was no longer able to sit up straight…

In 2017, SugarHouse was fined with $32.5K for offering unauthorized poker games. At a tournament finale, two contestants insisted on playing 10-card stud on a $42K showdown bet. The dealer obliged and the winner posted the video on YouTube, which ultimately resulted in a fine.



SugarHouse Casino