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Man suing Las Vegas casino after gambling away $500,000 while ‘too drunk’

Chips pile up next to a roulette wheel at The Hippodrome Casino near Leicester Square on July 13, 2012 in London.
Chips pile up next to a roulette wheel at The Hippodrome Casino near Leicester Square on July 13, 2012 in London.
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Almost as if it was pulled straight from the scripts of one of the The Hangover movies, a man who lost $500,000 during a drunken gambling binge in Las Vegas is now taking the casino court, claiming he shouldn’t have been allowed to play, and lose, while in such an inebriated state, according to a report today from Reuters.

The casino in question is the Downtown Grand casino in Las Vegas and the man is 52-year-old Mark Johnston of California, who filed the lawsuit last month in Clark County.

According to the lawsuit, Johnston spent 17 hours on Jan. 30 at the casino in downtown Las Vegas, down the road from The Strip, playing games like pai gow and blackjack whilst being served upwards of 20 drinks.

When Johnston finally packed up and went to his hotel room to pass out in his hotel room, he was down a cool half million, which the suit claims he had no recollection of when he awoke the next day because his mental state was described as a “blackout period.”

According to the lawsuit, Johnston, described as an “experienced gambler,” was slurring his speech, dropping chips and confusing chip colors.

“… He was unable to read his cards or set his hands properly,” the lawsuit said, as described mostly by a casino bartender Eric Weis, who had befriended Johnston and watched his gambling binge at one point.

Sean Lyttle, Johnston’s attorney, said he’s never heard of a case in which a casino allowed a patron to gamble while so intoxicated.

According to Nevada gaming regulations, casinos are not allowed to let visibly drunk patrons gamble, which again befuddled Lyttle.

“"I'm frankly baffled by the way this was handled and all I can really think to chalk it up to is inexperience," Lyttle said. "This is a casino that opened its doors in November."

The lawsuit claims the Downtown Grand acted negligently, accusing the casino of reckless endangerment and fraud.

Johnston’s $500,000 gambling debt could be cleared if he should win his case.

The Downtown Grand, whom Lyttle expected to file a countersuit seeking payment from Johnston, did not give Reuters comment.

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