Gambler Addiction Suit: Stakes Raised
By Earl
Rod Smith at writes that the Aztar Corporation, owners of the Tropicana resort in this Indiana city, is caught up in federal litigation as a result of a suit filed against it last year by David N. Williams, who was “lured by a riverboat casino” into addiction to gambling. Williams lost everything he had, and now wants $175,000 in damages. The federal litigation has come as a result of allegations in the case that “federal and state racketeering activity, breach of contract, tortuous breaches of duty and fraud” have all taken place at Tropicana.

Tom Grey, an executive director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, compared the case to the “black eye” sort of case against the tobacco industry, which “some governors or attorneys general are likely to jump on in an election year.”

The plaintiff charges that Aztar was aware of having addicted him to gambling and, although he was banned from the riverboat, he was also later lured back to gamble some more, according to his attorney, Terry Noffsinger.

The customary defense of a casino against a suit for addiction has become the argument that the casino had no knowledge of the particular problems of a gambler and are not responsible for a gambler’s decided behavior. The industry fears that, as lotteries are more and more defended by politicians as sources of government revenues, slots and other casino activities, including online, will more and more become the scapegoats of those politicians who want to please voters who are against gambling.

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