While poker great Phil Ivey was busy writing fat checks to courts in Nevada, his attorneys have been equally busy ensuring that their client doesn’t have to write an even bigger check in Atlantic City. Tuesday saw Ivey’s legal eagles issue their latest GTFO to claims by the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa that Ivey owes them $9.6m.
If you’re just joining us, Ivey and a female Asian companion have been accused of ‘edge sorting’ in order to gain an advantage at the Atlantic City casino’s baccarat tables during a multi-day session in 2012. Ivey has freely copped to the ‘edge sorting’ activity based on his argument that (a) it’s not illegal, (b) the statute of limitations has expired and (c) the casino bosses essentially dug their own grave by granting his allegedly illegal card-related requests in the belief/hope that Ivey would be the one leaving millions on the table.
Last week, Borgata attorneys filed a response to Ivey’s motion to dismiss, slamming the “premeditated, practiced and intricate” actions by Ivey and his alleged co-conspirator Cheng Yin Sun. The Borgata gave the Ivey legal team’s latest motion credit for attempting to argue that the courts had no right handling an affair over which the state’s gaming regulators held ultimate authority, but rejected this argument by noting that the Casino Control Act (CCA) gave the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) no power to compel casino patrons to do anything, making the courts the Borgata’s only way of seeking redress.
On Tuesday, Ivey’s attorneys responded, arguing that since courts have rejected private lawsuits based on alleged CCA violations, the same rationale applies regardless of whether such a suit is brought by gambler or casino. Ivey’s attorneys say the Borgata will have to prove that the New Jersey politicians who crafted the CCA meant to include an exemption for suits filed by casinos but somehow forgot to authorize “a private damage remedy to gaming losers.”
Ivey’s attorneys went on to wonder why, given all the hyperbolic allegations of “swindling, fraud and cheating,” the Borgata has yet to file criminal charges against Ivey and Sun. Ivey’s attorneys also wonder why the Borgata neglected to ask the DGE to determine whether a violation of the CCA had occurred in Ivey’s case, a determination Borgata’s AC rival Golden Nugget had sought before it sued the individuals in the unshuffled cards brouhaha.
Ivey’s attorneys wind things up by characterizing the entire casino industry’s raison d’être as “orchestrating a plethora of deceptive practices such as loud noises and flashing lights on slot machines, hiding the clocks, making exit signs almost impossible to find, having cocktail waitresses wear revealing clothes and comping copious amounts of alcohol to ‘loosen up’ their patrons,” all of which are intended to “encourage patrons to lose money.” In Ivey’s case, the Borgata failed miserably at this goal, and thus the casino’s “only valid complaint is that it lost.”