The fine art of suing the cops
It really gets crazy out there. One case I’m working on now involves a hairstylist from New Jersey who was counting cards at the Hard Rock, got backroomed, was threatened, handcuffed, and had his cellphone taken away -- all because he refused to show his ID while trying to cash out some chips. Then there’s the guy I represented who had been ace sequencing at blackjack -- following shuffles in a way that allowed him to predict when the very valuable aces will be coming his way. He made a big bet, received the ace, and the casino decided to cancel the hand. That is completely ridiculous. But he remained reasonable. In the aftermath, all he wanted was to be paid what getting an ace for your first card is worth -- 50.4% of your bet. But the casino wouldn’t give him that. Instead, when he returned, hoping to obtain a copy of the surveillance footage, he wound up getting tackled and dragged to the security office.
Sometimes you don’t even have to gamble to find yourself receiving unwanted attention. Casinos regularly do sweeps for prostitutes. They look for attractive women, well-dressed and unescorted by men. My client was a very attractive topless dancer and a nursing student but not a prostitute.
She was in a Vegas casino, security assumed she was hooking -- never mind that she was waiting for her boyfriend to join her for a late dinner -- and pulled her into a back room with a number of supposed working girls. They ran her ID and she did not come up as somebody who had previously been ejected from a casino. But security decided that they still had probable cause to take her into custody. They didn’t have cause. The judge agreed. I can’t give you the total amount of money that we got -- the settlement is confidential -- but I can tell you that the Las Vegas police gave us in excess of $50,000. That was huge. Any time you get more than 50 from the city, you have dinged them. They nearly never have to pay. The law is stacked against anyone who sues the police.
I’ve found that a number of casinos don’t like to pay either. Thankfully they’ve become less likely to beat the crap out of you, but they find other ways to illegally intimidate advantage players -- and one way is to not let you cash out your chips. Late one night I received a call from a woman we’ll refer to as Mary Smith. She was being confronted by three casino security guards and a police officer in Tunica, Mississippi. The casino refused to cash her chips and she was being accused of cheating.
I got a cop on the phone and said, “What cheating? I know this person. She is my client. She does not cheat.”
The cop told me she was card counting. I said, “Sir, that is not cheating.”
He asked me to hold on a minute and began interfacing with people from the casino. They agreed that card counting is not illegal and the cop was told that he got called there because she refused to leave. I heard him say to the casino security guards, “But she has $30,000 in chips! Cash them out and then she will leave.”