Alleged violation of NJ law

Gambler's claim of illegal dice used in Atlantic City's Golden Nugget must be investigated, New York court rules

Atlantic City's Golden Nugget.
Reading time 1:29 min

Nearly two years after New York resident Wayne Chan sued Atlantic City's Golden Nugget casino in a Newark federal court, claiming that the games were unfair, a New York court has now determined that New Jersey regulators should investigate that claim. In September 2021, Chan sued the property after he lost $469,125 playing craps in 2018 and 2019. The casino reportedly sought $200,000 that he owed but Chan argued that he did not have to pay it because the games were not fair as the dice used were altered in a way that could be cheating.

In his complaint, Chan said that the casino violated New Jersey law by using non-transparent dice and marking them with the table number. According to a January 2020 letter included in Chan's complaint, the player voiced his concerns to the casino, but Golden Nugget counsel responded that dice-scribing was an "industry-recognized practice of which the (Division of Gaming Enforcement) and every other regulatory agency" were aware.

According to a report by Las Vegas Review-Journal, dice are often closely regulated to avoid potential tampering or unfair play. New Jersey’s law requires dice to be transparent and made exclusively of cellulose except for the spots on the dice, casino name and serial numbers. The report notes that previous court cases have determined that the same marking allegations against another casino don’t violate state law.

As per Review-Journal, Chan submitted a patron complaint to New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement a day after the Golden Nugget’s lawyers responded to his concerns. However, the agency did not intervene in the complaint resulting in Chan becoming unsuccessful in his lawsuit, causing the casino to seek a summary judgment for Chan’s outstanding losses.

This year, an appeals court in New York on April 27 ruled that the lower court had been premature in granting that judgment and that the results of a DGE investigation of the complaint should be considered first. Additionally, it denied the summary judgment with the ability to renew upon a ruling from the DGE or after six months if the DGE failed to resolve the issue by then. 

New Jersey's Golden Nugget is owned by Huston billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who also owns casinos in locations such as downtown Las Vegas and one Laughlin.

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