Casino Lawsuit debate rages on
By Paul
In recent weeks, former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, a leading figure in the anti-tobacco lobby and chairman of Washington D.C. lobbying group Common Cause, has argued that the gambling industry could be the next target for trial lawyers.

The head of the nonpartisan organization plans to contact his 200,000 members to see if there is enough interest in an anti-gambling court action. Targets could include major casino operators and state lotteries.

But as reported by Las Vegas Gaming Wire, there are significant – if not insurmountable – obstacles to clear for any ambulance-chasing lawyers.

Professor Richard Daynard, chairman of the Tobacco Products Liability Project at Boston's Northeastern University believes that the deceptive business practices by gambling companies led to people becoming gambling addicts.

'You'd really have to find something that shows where the industry or the casinos were going after people's weaknesses,' said Daynard. 'You can't take the position that gambling by itself is a bad thing. That argument is behind us.'

Harrah's Senior Vice President Jan Jones wasn’t impressed at the idea of lawyers going after casino interests in the same manner as they targeted the tobacco, alcohol and firearms industries.

'Have they no shame?' Jones asked. 'What happened to personal responsibility, an individual's right to choose? And they're going to look for hidden reasons to go after deep pockets to enrich themselves? I think that's pathetic.'

Despite her objections, Jones said casino operators should not ignore the seriousness of the potential threat.

'Because their reasoning is flawed doesn't mean it's a threat,' she said, 'but it does show the sad state of the legal environment in America today.'

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