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Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - A businessman who lost $500,000 on table games at a Las Vegas casino on Super Bowl weekend is arguing that he shouldn't have to pay because he was blackout drunk.

Southern California gambler Mark Johnston, 52, is suing the Downtown Grand for loaning him money and serving him drinks when he was visibly intoxicated.

Nevada law bars casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them comped drinks.

Johnston's attorney, Sean Lyttle, says the Grand, which opened last November in the old part of Las Vegas, intends to pursue Johnston for trying to shirk his gambling debts. Johnston put a stop-payment order on the markers, or casino credits, the Grand issued, and is also seeking damages from the Grand for sullying his name.

Johnston says he was thoroughly drunk during the hours he spent playing pai gow and blackjack at the Grand. His legal team plans to rely on eyewitness testimony and surveillance video to prove that he was visibly intoxicated.

Johnston lives in Ventura and made his fortune in car dealership and real estate ventures.

The Grand issued a statement saying it does not comment on pending litigation.

The state Gaming Control Board is investigating.

"It's certainly an extraordinary case. This is not a story that I've ever heard before, where someone was blackout intoxicated where they couldn't read their cards, and yet a casino continued to serve them drinks and issue them more markers," Lyttle said. "It's a very heavy-handed and unusual approach that we haven't seen in this town in a long time."

Johnston arrived in Las Vegas with the woman he was dating on the Thursday before the Super Bowl. He drank in the limousine from the Las Vegas airport to the Grand, drank more during dinner with friends, and then says he blacked out.

The suit alleges that the Grand comped him dozens of drinks while he gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars, finally sleeping off his drunkenness on that Saturday, which was Feb, 1. Johnston says he didn't learn how much he had lost until the next day.

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RCB March 06 2014 at 12:04 PM

If he won, would he give the money back...?????

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jeri-Anne March 06 2014 at 12:32 PM

Bet he wouldn't have had any problem at all if he'd won. NO sympathy. Pay your debt, deadbeat!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
buddy56holly March 06 2014 at 12:33 PM

"Johnston put a stop-payment order on the markers, or casino credits, the Grand issued, and is also seeking damages from the Grand for sullying his name."

I think he sullied his own name when he got this drunk in a public place for everyone to see.

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2 replies
cruiser94 buddy56holly March 06 2014 at 12:38 PM

buddy, I agree completely.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Mrs. G buddy56holly March 06 2014 at 2:02 PM

He should have gone home & hope no one found out what a Drunk Idiot he is....too bad he decided to sue & let the world see he is a Drunk Idiot! Makes me wanna puke!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bonecracr March 06 2014 at 12:36 PM

When do we take responsibility for our own actions. I don't blame the casino at all. They don't order the drinks for you. You order for yourself. He is a grown up who lost money and doesn't want to pay up. He expects something for free. Sounds like half of America.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
MIkey March 06 2014 at 12:36 PM

Please save me from me! Really? Guy is responsible for making that kind of money, then blames someone else for getting him overly intoxicated and forcing him to bet more?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
eddyvilla6 March 06 2014 at 12:40 PM

Send this fat ass to North Korea

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Hey Crumbly!!!! March 06 2014 at 12:40 PM

Two questions?
Would he sue the casino if he had WON $500K?
Why isn't he suing his 'buddies' for allowing him to be an idiot?
Hello??!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
gt537onn March 06 2014 at 12:40 PM

" He drank in the limousine from the Las Vegas airport to the Grand, drank more during dinner with friends, and then says he blacked out."

And yet he is "... also seeking damages from the Grand for sullying his name."

Seems to me he sullied his own name, drunk idiot!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
cpetrie2k4 March 06 2014 at 12:41 PM

You made your choice's for the night when you started with your first drink, So shut up & move on. if you didnt learn from this....... Grab another Drink ! Dumb Ass....! ! !

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Jim March 06 2014 at 12:42 PM

Another 1%-er-perp- playing- victim, seeking a bailout for his excessive self-indulgence.

Pound desert sand, chump.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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