Drunk gambler who lost £300k sues Las Vegas casino

The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino
The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino
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A CALIFORNIA man has filed a lawsuit against a Las Vegas ­casino where he lost $500,000 (£300,000) in 17 hours of gambling – claiming he should have been stopped from playing ­because he was too drunk.

Mark Johnston, 52, from Ventura, California, had ten drinks before he arrived at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and consumed at least another 20 during the session. In his lawsuit filed in Nevada state court for Clark County, he alleges that he suffered a blackout and did not remember the losses or his gambling.

The casino, which opened in November, has declined to ­comment.

Mr Johnston, a retired estate agent and car salesman, previously owned a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Los Angeles.

In a television interview, he insisted the lawsuit was not about money.

He said: “What if I had gone to bed that night, with all those drinks in me, and I threw up on myself and I choked and died?

“My responsibility is, look, I had some drinks at the airport, on the plane.

“At some point, that’s my responsibility. The unfortunate part about it for them is, they have a bigger responsibility than I do.

“I am not a sore loser. I’ve lost half a million. I’ve lost $800,000. I’ve lost a lot of money. This has nothing to do with that. Obviously I can afford what I lost.”

He added: “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. I feel like it’s the days of old Vegas, the way they’ve been extorting me with letters and ­attorneys.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board is investigating the casino over a possible breach of regulations which prohibit “permitting persons who are visibly intoxicated to participate in gaming activity” and from offering “complimentary service of intoxicating beverages in the casino area to persons who are visibly intoxicated”.

Mr Johnston was sitting at a private blackjack table, as well as playing the Chinese domino game pai gow, after flying to Las Vegas with a female friend and was seen to be visibly drunk at dinner at a restaurant at the ­casino on 30 January, ­according to the lawsuit.

It states he does not remember leaving the restaurant or the following 44 hours.

The lawsuit stated that the Downtown Grand was aware of his use of medication that would make him more drunk.

The suit read: “Mr Johnston, an experienced gambler, was dropping chips on the floor, confusing chip colors [sic], and slurring his speech badly, and he was unable to read his cards or set his hands properly.

“To her shock, after sleeping for seven to eight hours, [Mr Johnston’s female friend] found Mr Johnston still gambling at the blackjack table, and still heavily intoxicated.”