Prominent Orange County real estate developer and high-stakes gambler, Dwight Manley, has filed a federal lawsuit against MGM Resorts International, alleging consumer fraud and negligence. Manley attributes his multimillion-dollar losses at blackjack to a cocktail tinkered with ketamine, a tranquilizer often used on animals, and the casino’s negligence in continuing to extend his credit limit despite his erratic conduct.
Manley, an experienced coin collector and former sports agent for NBA’s Dennis Rodman, was known for his substantial wagers. However, an ill-fated afternoon at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino blackjack table resulted in losses running into millions of dollars. In response to the incident, Manley’s representatives have declared a $500,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the individual responsible for drugging him.
Manley purportedly lost $2 million to MGM, which is now seeking an additional $440,000. The lawsuit was initially filed in November 2022 and subsequently amended in July. Richard K. Howell, Manley’s attorney, asserted his client was subjected to a serious criminal act endangering his life and that Manley is committed to identifying and eradicating the culprits responsible.
Manley had reportedly maintained a 30-year relationship with the MGM Grand, receiving VIP treatment, free amenities, and private blackjack table access. His credibility earned him the privilege of acquiring credit advances during his betting sessions. His last trip to the MGM Grand, in December 2020, ended with him feeling disoriented after his first cocktail at the blackjack table.
Manley recalled the drink tasting “bitter” and “dirty”, and after consuming it, he cut his hand on a broken ashtray while gambling. Despite visible signs of disorientation and employees noting his “erratic” behavior, the MGM staff continued to offer him credit limit extensions. Ironically, Manley unwittingly left half a million dollars worth in chips on the table after departing the high-limit salon.
Later, friends noted Manley’s unsteady gait and inability to stand, leading them to carry him back to his villa. Upon returning to California, Manley filed a police report, lodged a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and undertook medical tests. His medical examination results later tested positive for ketamine, a drug Manley claims never to have knowingly consumed.