At the Golden Nugget Atlantic City on April 30, bets on a game of mini-baccarat quickly grew from $10 a hand to $5,000 a hand when the 14 players at the table continually saw the same sequence of cards dealt. After 41 consecutive winning hands, players were up a total of $1.5 million, and casino security surrounded the table, convinced of foul play, reported the Associated Press.
The winners were questioned to the point of harassment. Security reportedly woke up one Brooklyn man in the middle of the night, physically restraining him and holding him in his room without food or water for eight hours while they searched his belongings, reported deadspin.com. Finding nothing, they let the man go.
Later, the casino learned the problem was actually with the decks of cards. The Golden Nugget contends the Blue Springs, Missouri-based playing card manufacturer Gemaco Inc. had promised to pre-shuffle the cards. But the cards were unshuffled, and the Golden Nugget dealers put them into play without checking.
The Golden Nugget is suing the card manufacturer, as well as the 14 players, claiming the casino shouldn’t have to pay out their winnings.
The players have hired a lawyer, Benjamin Dash, to defend their right to their winnings. The players—all Chinese, according to the Kansas City Business Journal—have filed suit against the casino for racial discrimination.
“The Golden Nugget appealed to gamblers to come in and play games licensed and sanctioned by the state of New Jersey,” Dash told the AP. “My clients did exactly that, and then were denied their winnings. There is absolutely no law in New Jersey that would permit the Golden Nugget to declare the game illegal because it failed to provide shuffled cards.”
The incident isn’t the first case of unshuffled cards in an Atlantic City casino. At the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in December, the dealer played unshuffled mini-baccarat cards for 3.5 hours before noticing something was off, resulting in a $91,000 fine against the casino. The Taj Mahal fired nine employees involved.