Two casino-related court cases are providing further evidence of the saying that the house always wins.
A three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a lower court verdict on Wednesday, which found MGM Resorts’ MGM Grand Detroit casino wasn’t accountable for around $6m stolen from investors by aspiring developer Gino Accettola, who, after being convicted of scam in 2018, is now serving seven to 30 years in prison.
Accettola supposedly accepted “substantial sums of money” from a dozen investors as since 2014 for construction projects in Michigan and Florida. However, Accettola lost the borrowed millions playing blackjack at MGM’s Detroit casino, which the investors came to know through Accettola’s confessions during his fraud trial.
As reported by calvinayre.com, the angry investors sued MGM, claiming it should have suspected something was fishy after the scale of Accettola’s gambling increased “precipitously” in 2014. As a high-roller, Accettola was permitted to wager at the casino using credit markers, a process which let MGM do background checks on their new VIP.
The accusers maintained that a background check should have warned MGM about Accettola’s lack of a job or other visible source of income, along with his criminal history of identity theft and robbery. MGM said it had taken money from Accettola in good faith and for “reasonably equivalent value.”
Though the accusers challenged this ‘good faith’ argument, the court discovered that Accettola had visited MGM’s casino a few times a week for years before he stole the plaintiffs’ millions, betting with his own money, implying it wasn’t necessary for MGM to run a background check. And his escalated gambling activity preceded any filing of fraud by the accusers, implying it wasn’t possible for MGM to know Accettola was gambling with stolen cash.
Speaking of the reasonably equivalent value argument, the accusers argued that Accettola was, as the court stated, “a terrible gambler,” implying MGM “enjoyed a greater than normal house advantage” over him. But MGM also provided Accettola with over $131,520 in VIP perks, leading the court to conclude that plaintiffs had failed to prove their point.
MICCOSUKEE CASINO SCAMMERS CONFESS
A bit further south, four Florida couples have admitted to plot to steal funds, plot to commit consumer fraud and plot to commit money laundering for their role in a scam which took the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming venue for $5.3m over a four-year period.
The scam, in which four male casino staff and their spouses were involved, comprised tricking the casino’s electronic gaming machines into thinking big amounts of money had been deposited, then withdrawing the money as a credit voucher and erasing the machines’ memory to eliminate any trace of the original ‘deposit.’ Then the wives laundered the stolen cash by buying property and other assets.
The four unfortunate couples, who were accused by federal authorities last August, await their sentencing hearings this month and in March.