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Some blackjack players bet they could increase their winnings by suing casinos; they lost

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that blackjack players who won at the cheap tables at the Encore and MGM Springfield casinos, then sued to get the higher winnings they would have gotten at higher-stakes tables, should have quit while they were ahead.

In a state case and in a legal opinion on a federal case, the state's highest court said the gamblers knew the rules going in and that they can't use the courts to adjust their winnings.

They played at tables requiring smaller bets and paying out a winning "blackjack" at six dollars for every five dollars bet (6:5), rather than three dollars for every two dollars bet (3:2) as at the more expensive tables.The plaintiffs sat down at tables with the basic rules and 6:5 payouts printed on the felt of the table, were dealt blackjacks, and won.

The court explained the difference in the earnings: On a $100 bet, the 6:5 payout would mean $120 in winnings, while a 3:2 payout would mean $150.

But despite the printed rules sitting right in front of them, the gamblers sued, arguing that state gaming regulations at the time were vague and so meant they were entitled to the higher winnings.

The court, however, said, no dice. The state gaming commission had consistently interpreted the regulation in question to support the 6:5 payout for lower-stakes tables and that this should not have been a surprise to the gamblers, given that both casinos complied, in felt, with regulations requiring basic payout information be prominently displayed.

We conclude that the plaintiffs understood the rules and the stakes, and that deference is due to the commission's interpretation. Therefore, the plaintiffs lose this last bet.

The court added the issue is no longer an issue because in October, 2020, the commission revised its regulations.

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Comments

gamblers play the Mass Millions or invest in Dogecoin.

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Voting closed 24

Marriage is like going to a restaurant. Everyone orders what they want, then when the food comes, everyone wants what someone else got. This case is just that, as the SJC essentially says in the first paragraph of the decision.

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Voting closed 9

If they really wanted to gamble they should try the buffet, if it ever returns.

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Voting closed 21

I don't get how these people could ever see a way to their winning this case. The rules are literally right in front of their face in black and white (or maybe red and green). Usually I can see where someone - usually a lawyer - could see a clear path to victory, but in this case it all just seems very lame.

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Voting closed 21

If the instructions are in red and green, colorblind gamblers might have a compelling case.

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Voting closed 19

When this case first came to light, I believe their argument was that the commission rule said that the casino was allowed to set a single payout per game and had to stick to it. So if you could play blackjack in the casino with 3:2 payouts, then a 6:5 payout was illegal.

I think essentially the casino said the low stakes game was a different game of Blackjack than the high stakes game.

I may not be recalling it perfectly, but from a consumer protection standpoint, their lawsuit wasn't quite the joke Adam makes it to be here.

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Voting closed 15

But why would encore care about paying out 3:2 blackjack at $5-$10 tables? That’s what I don’t get.

(Or $25 vs $100)

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Voting closed 10

1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

There's WAY more action at the smaller tables and any margin-cutting they can do improves the house take.

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Voting closed 15

But isn’t the ratio of the low vs high tables usually like 1:25 or something like that? (Two $15 tables, ten $25, and then the high roller rooms and $100 tables which usually has another 5-8 tables).

I’m just trying to picture vegas or Foxwoods casinos which I don’t remember having different BJ payouts for the same game (instead of multi deck vs single deck or one of those weird side bet BJ games that may have different odds)

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Voting closed 11

But why would encore care about paying out 3:2 blackjack at $5-$10 tables? That’s what I don’t get.

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Voting closed 12