Las Vegas gambler sues casino for losing $500,000 'while he was drunk'

Business man Mark Johnston claims he was served 20 drinks and was visibly intoxicated while he gambled for 17 hours

A gambler who lost $500,000 (£298,000) at a Las Vegas casino is suing the venue for his losses – because he claims he was allowed to play despite being visibly drunk.

US businessman Mark Johnston, 52, said he should not have to pay his gambling debts after he arrived at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and was, he claims, plied with free alcoholic drinks while he played.

Mr Johnson alleges that staff served him at least 20 drinks during the 17 hours he spent gambling at the casino even though he was visibly intoxicated, according to the suit filed 18 February in Nevada state court for Clark County.

He said he started playing in the evening of 30 January and finally stopped the next afternoon.

Under Nevada law, casinos are not allowed to serve visibly drunk patrons.

After leaving the gaming tables, Mr Johnston went to his hotel room and woke up the next day with no memory of his time at the tables, the lawsuit states, which described his mental state while gambling as a "blackout period."

"Just picture a drunk walking the street and he's drunk, and someone pickpockets and takes his money from him. That's how I characterise it," Mr Johnston told CNN.

"My responsibility is, look, I had some drinks at the airport, on the plane. At some point, that's my responsibility," he added. "The unfortunate part about it for them is, they have a bigger responsibility than I do."

Mr Johnston, from Ventura, had been given credit in the amount of $250,000 (£149,000), and claims the amount was increased while he was gambling so he ultimately lost $500,000.

"Mr Johnston, an experienced gambler, was dropping chips on the floor, confusing chip colours and slurring his speech badly, and he was unable to read his cards or set his hands properly," the lawsuit states.

This description of his behaviour came from a staff member working at the casino during Mr Johnston’s time there, who has since stopped working at venue, according to Mr Johnston’s lawyer Sean Lyttle.

Mr Lyttle described his client’s case as “extraordinary”.

"Someone was blackout intoxicated where they couldn't read their cards, and yet a casino continued to serve them drinks and issue them more markers," he told The Associated Press.

The casino has so far declined to comment. The Nevada gaming control is reportedly investigating the matter.  

Additional reporting by agencies

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Provisioning Specialist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Provisioning Specialist is required to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Apprenticeships

£10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an outstanding opportunity for 1...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Support Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Support Engineer is required to join a well-...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Administrator - Swedish Speaking

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum