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.