New Jersey has declared that Borgata Casino, which is located in Atlantic City, should distribute a sum of $1,721,805 among players who were affected by the cancellation of the first event of the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open. The casino had to cancel this event after it discovered that one of the participants had introduced fake poker chips into the game play. The $1,721,805 that the casino has been ordered to pay includes the $1,433,145 promised as prize money plus the $288,720 accepted as rake.
According to New Jersey’s investigation of the incident, as many as 2,218 players “were not impacted by the alleged criminal conduct,” but 2,143 players “may have been impacted” by the introduction of the fake chips. The investigators had checked if players had handled the fake chips or were in the same poker room as Lusardi.
The state has instructed Borgata Casino to refund $560 to the 2,134 players who might have been affected by this incident. These are players who had busted before getting into the money. According to the tournament structure, 450 players would finish in the money. The 27 finalists will each get $19,323, which is still a very small sum compared to what they might have got if they had won.
Players who finished between the 28th and 450th positions have already got their cash prizes and will not receive any compensation. However, the casino has not yet paid some of these players and owes them a total of $51,000.
A number of players sued the casino in February on grounds that it did not take the required steps to prevent participants from introducing fake chips. Calling it negligence on the part of the casino, they demanded re-funds, re-imbursements of travelling costs, and compensation.
An attorney said: “In my 31 years in practice, I have to say this is one of the cleanest claims we’ve had. Borgata holds itself as a respected provider of poker tournaments. They might say this is a learning experience for them, and while that’s laudable, it’s at the expense of the thousands who travelled to Atlantic City … under the expectation that it would be run properly.”
The casino had recently obtained high-tech poker chips, which were “very expensive, but very necessary.”