Woman blames gambling debt on casino

Mousey

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Quite a lengthy article, but an interesting read.

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She says Caesars gave perks, credit

By Grace Schneider
gschneider@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal



Jenny Kephart's fondness for the blackjack table took her to a world of private jet rides, her own table and dealer in casinos, and lavish hotel suites where iced champagne awaited her arrival.

"My every whim," recalled Kephart, 52, of suburban Nashville, Tenn., who now admits she was a compulsive gambler. She said she has lost more than $900,000 at casinos across the country.



Eventually, her gambling brought her to Caesars Indiana in Harrison County and put her deep in debt. The casino filed a lawsuit against her in January for failing to repay $125,000 she had borrowed during a March 2006 visit to the riverboat owned by Harrah's, a company that had been making her special offers for years.

But Kephart, who is unemployed, is fighting back with a counterclaim alleging that Caesars enticed her with giveaways and made money for gambling available to her, even though trained casino workers should have identified her as a problem gambler and casino executives knew she had come out of bankruptcy just four years earlier, when Harrah's was one of her creditors.

Caesars' lawyer, Stephen Langdon of Frost Brown and Todd in New Albany, Ind., argued in court and in filings that Kephart never asked to be banned from the casino or other properties run by Harrah's, so the casino had no way to know that she was a problem gambler.

The casino lawyers declined to comment further about the case.

On Wednesday, Judge H. Lloyd Whitis in Harrison Circuit Court heard their motion to dismiss Kephart's counterclaim. He is expected to rule in a month or so.

Kephart's case centers on whether a casino has a duty to protect an addicted gambler from himself or herself.

Her lawyer, Terry Noffsinger of Evansville, contends that pathological gambling is widely viewed as a mental illness. He argued that Caesars' representatives knew that Kephart couldn't control her gambling binges but still took "affirmative steps to persuade her to gamble" by calling her at home and offering her credit and complimentary hotel rooms, meals and limousine rides.

In similar cases, Indiana courts have held that casino operators don't have to prevent customers from gambling and consequently aren't responsible for their losses.

But Noffsinger stressed that the law is not fully settled in cases involving problem gambling.

"If she had just gone in (to Caesars) on her own, that would be one thing," he said. Instead, he told the judge Wednesday, he intends to prove that casino officials knew that Kephart was an addicted gambler and that they pursued her because she had money to spare from a $1 million inheritance she received in 2004.

Indiana gambling regulations allow casinos to lend money to people it deems credit-worthy. The Indiana Gaming Commission has declined in the past to disclose the amount of credit that individual casinos extend to patrons, citing privacy law and trade secrets.

Noffsinger previously represented Evansville resident and professed gambling addict David Williams in a federal lawsuit in which the precedent that casinos have no duty to protect a compulsive gambler from himself was upheld.

California lawyer I. Nelson Rose, a gambling-law expert, said he believes the court precedent is well established. He also said many wealthy gamblers are offered credit of hundreds of thousands of dollars, so Caesars' decision to lend Kephart large sums is not unusual.

But Noffsinger said he believes Kephart's case is different because Caesars sued her first, and the casino invited her to visit.

In an interview at her home last week, Kephart said she decided to fight the claim against her because she thinks Caesars took advantage of her. "They ......
 
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lojo

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It is interesting that they had previously sued her then invited her back into their credit net. Doesn't look like TN or IN have laws against predatory lending practices. Wonder if the FTC will be involved as it was interstate.

I think the casino should eat it, they took a gamble on her and lost. boohoo. We do it all the time, eat our losses.:lick:
 

happygobrokey

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they oughtn't have gave her credit to begin with. but at the same time a person has to realize that in accepting credit, there is an obligation to pay it back.

they were happy to keep giving credit knowing full well she was broke, where did they expect to get paid back from unless they expected her to win? so, the only logical answer is to keep extending credit until she has enough to pay them back. maybe if they give her real money credit to invest in positive expectations, instead of giving her an ass to lose in their pit of hell?

but really since she was using their money and lost their money back to them, they aren't out anything. plus they have all of her million dollar inheritance and she lost her house to them, what more do they want? stones don't contain blood.

and the article goes on to say the casino can be awarded treble (3x) the amount owed if they win, so are casinos going to start giving out unlimited credit to everyone, and then sue for treble when the debtors default? and who's going to pay because these people are all broke? are they going to take the person's entire paycheque (paycheck) for the rest of their lives, so they can get back the funny money they indiscriminately doled out to easy marks?

now that there's a land-based section, can we rogue B&M's? :thumbsup:
 

GGW Laurie

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they oughtn't have gave her credit to begin with. but at the same time a person has to realize that in accepting credit, there is an obligation to pay it back.
they were happy to keep giving credit knowing full well she was broke, where did they expect to get paid back from unless they expected her to win? so, the only logical answer is to keep extending credit until she has enough to pay them back. maybe if they give her real money credit to invest in positive expectations, instead of giving her an ass to lose in their pit of hell?

but really since she was using their money and lost their money back to them, they aren't out anything. plus they have all of her million dollar inheritance and she lost her house to them, what more do they want? stones don't contain blood.

and the article goes on to say the casino can be awarded treble (3x) the amount owed if they win, so are casinos going to start giving out unlimited credit to everyone, and then sue for treble when the debtors default? and who's going to pay because these people are all broke? are they going to take the person's entire paycheque (paycheck) for the rest of their lives, so they can get back the funny money they indiscriminately doled out to easy marks?

now that there's a land-based section, can we rogue B&M's? :thumbsup:
imo theres two sides to every story, both sides were clearly in the wrong. i have played at caesars indiana and i liked it but didnt get any unlimited perks like that lol. it is also listed on the top 10 casinos in the world as being the largest floating casino . i did get to see( 2 ) 500.00 slot machines there, i didnt even know 500.00 ones existed.
 

babs7262

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The Trop has the $500 too

The Trop has the Crystal Room, every machine has their own television set lol. The Borgata has $1000 machines!!! Imagine that
 

dominique

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There are two parts to this - you can't blame the casino for sending out promos for comps or bonuses or whatever. We all like to get these. The devil is in how you use them.

You CAN blame the casino for extending credit to a known compulsive gambler. Caesars definitely had that info about her available.

IMO knowingly enticing a compulsive gambler to borrow money to play is scummy and the lowest of the low.

Bartenders are not allowed to serve drinks to intoxicated people. Casinos should not be allowed to extend credit to known compulsive gamblers.

IMO Caesar's acted rogue here.
 

NASHVEGAS

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While I agree it is not however Illegal
Actually, it is standard operating procedure for those who have the financial capacity to establish credit lines and the more you gamble,the more frequent and enticing offers via non-stop marketing, not saying it is right or wrong. Ay, will just leave at that for now.
 
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buzzweisergrl

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Recognizing the problem

It is no one's fault but the ladies. She needs to accept the responsibility to do something about her gambling problem. I can't feel sorry for her. I to had a problem with compulsive gambling and signed myself off all the boats in Missouri. That's the problem in today's world no one ever has to accept responsibility. There is always someone else to blame.
 

NASHVEGAS

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It is no one's fault but the ladies. She needs to accept the responsibility to do something about her gambling problem. I can't feel sorry for her. I to had a problem with compulsive gambling and signed myself off all the boats in Missouri. That's the problem in today's world no one ever has to accept responsibility. There is always someone else to blame.
Amen, you took the words right out of my mouth where I decided to stop in my preceding post. So now I will say my other thought I did not mention, another frivilious lawsuit.:thumbsup:
 

dominique

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It is no one's fault but the ladies. She needs to accept the responsibility to do something about her gambling problem. I can't feel sorry for her. I to had a problem with compulsive gambling and signed myself off all the boats in Missouri. That's the problem in today's world no one ever has to accept responsibility. There is always someone else to blame.

I have to agree with that too, and that realization is especially important to the lady herself, or she will never get herself better.

However, I still think it's scummy to lend money to someone you know is addicted to whatever when you know it's only going to feed the addiction and push them deeper into trouble.

This is not too far removed from the mob breaking kneecaps after lending money to an addict they knew darn well could not repay.
 

NASHVEGAS

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However, I still think it's scummy to lend money to someone you know is addicted to whatever when you know it's only going to feed the addiction and push them deeper into trouble
Not necessarily disagreeing but how does the casino determine addiction for anyone including those that have the financial capacity (which is actually verified and periodically updated by the casino credit departments). I may be an addict and assume I have the financial capacity so how does the casino determine if I am an addict possibly self destructing and then when is exactly the proper time for the casino to draw this line. There is none imo unless I inform them of a gambling problem. BTW, although I can not say if this is significant or not, but B&M's advertise just about everywhere from your room key to whatever a 800 number for those with gambling problems.:)
 

lojo

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This is not too far removed from the mob breaking kneecaps after lending money to an addict they knew darn well could not repay.

Or the 'buddy' who comes around with a spliff and a fourty when someone gets out of a treatment center... or the 'first one's free' heroin dealer.

An addict is an addict and when someone offers them their 'behavior of choice', that person is in the wrong.

I'm all for self responsibility, but still think the casino or their financial arm should just eat it in this case. boohoo for them, they gambled and lost.
 

dominique

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I may be an addict and assume I have the financial capacity so how does the casino determine if I am an addict possibly self destructing and then when is exactly the proper time for the casino to draw this line. There is none imo unless I inform them of a gambling problem.

I think the fact that she filed bankcruptcy when she owed the casino last time may have been a good indicator to stop lending her money.
 

NASHVEGAS

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I think the fact that she filed bankcruptcy when she owed the casino last time may have been a good indicator to stop lending her money.
Certainly creditworthiness is valid and also is used in determining one's credit line as well as financial capacity but I was not refering to the Caesar's case but in general pursuant to your quote which the word "you" must have been singular(the Caesar's lady) and I read as plural. Sorry.
 

noluckever67

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problem gambling.

Hi
this raises far wider implications and for those who scorn this women maybe they need to rethink there attitudes towards problem gambling.
If there was no such thing then reputable sites would not have to be advertising self exclusion tools on them for an start and ok this is an land based casino or river whatever but in the UK it is possible to be banned and excluded from EVERY single casino very easily.Now any reputable casino es land based would never ever call someone whom they fine knew had gambling problems.

This matter goes an lot further than this one case gambling sadly causes major disruptions in many peoples lives and has done for many years but unlike an alcoholic who can be easily spotted the gambler can continue to gamble unnoticed.Maybe its time for people to realise that this is not an small % of gamblers but increasing more and more every single day MAINLY due to internet gambling.Last year the number of calls to gamcare increased 5 fold on the year before . Now you look at reasons why people might be calling them and you will find its because they have gambled more than they can afford and are not in control.This is an problem.

I do laugh at websites whom offer customers an 6 month cooling off period.Why not for good?? an compulsive gambler will never ever be cured so why 6 months?? I think its absolutely disgusting to scorn anyone who loses vast sums and i feel what she is doing is morally correct in making people notice exactly the influence gambling has on peoples lives.Its like for example you being an recovering alcoholic and an bar calls you up offering free drink all night would you call this correct???its exactly the same thing and quicker people realise this the better because sadly this is going to become an helluva lot worse before it gets better.

Please dont think i am having an go at gambling what i am doing is trying to get through that with gambling must come much more responsibilities knowing the effect gambling has on peoples lives.For the majority this is an social pastime but more and more its becoming problematic.So please dont scorn this woman scorn at the ruthlessness casino operators who with FREE offers plant seeds in someones head someone they knew 100% had an problem and make them responsible.
 

noluckever67

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It is no one's fault but the ladies. She needs to accept the responsibility to do something about her gambling problem. I can't feel sorry for her. I to had a problem with compulsive gambling and signed myself off all the boats in Missouri. That's the problem in today's world no one ever has to accept responsibility. There is always someone else to blame.


sorry meant to say in above post this ridiculous comment I TOO HAD AN PROBLEM WITH COMPULSIVE GAMBLING".errmm i dont thinkso once your an compulsive gambler this will never leave you and if you do still have this why are u on an casino forum??? Sorry but lot of inaccuracies here.
 

GaryWatson

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I would never allow a gambling establishment to offer credit. People playing for fun will stop before the money runs out. People chasing their losses IMO do not have their full faculties intact. Gambling establishments are not as rigerous as banks for determining who is worthy of credit. Banks even make mistakes.

Yes, the woman has a part to play in this but the warning signals were already there. I would remove any credit license from all gambling establishments and allow the banks to show the woman her addiction in full. Credit is just too easy. Ive rarely met a compulsive gambler who hasnt tried every avenue for more cash to win the lost money.

The woman has to accept responsibility for her actions on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
 

silcnlayc

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Interestingly enough...

I just came back from Dover Downs casino in Maryland for my one night trip and I was truly amazed at all the full busloads that were passing me and my husband by with the logo on the back of them saying Atlantic City every Saturday and more buses to Dover Downs or Bust. Well, just so you can see, there is no gambling in Virginia (where I am) and the masses go to where they can gamble no matter what.

When one has a gambling problem...one must take responsibility for ones own actions..the way I see it, is, that these buses ride for 6-10 hours to get where they need to go and if one chooses to ride this length of time to get a "fix" nothing and no one will stop them unless they WANT to be stopped.

It is not the casinos responsibility to take care of anyones choices, just as it is not any one else's. If one chooses to be ignorant of the fact that they have a problem, and continues their self destruction, only the person doing the destruction can make the choice of getting help.

One cannot be forced to seek help..we see people destroying their lives every day because they would rather get thier "fix" than help.

Sorry for such a long post..but I agree, if one has a probelm and knows it, it's their responsibility to seek help because then and only then will the help they seek be meaningful.

Addiction is a cruel beast and only the one with the addiction can slay it..no matter how much we love them.
 

noluckever67

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uk
ignorance

I am sorry i dont wish to start an argument but this is just how little people actually kow about such addictions..If it was as easy as you say just to "fix" this then the world would be so god damn easy for everyone.tobacco,alcohol,drugs would not be an problem for anyone and lives would not be ruined by such addictions.Gambling has been proven to be an mental illness now if the last poster implied it was just an case of taking responsibility then the worlds mental illness would not even exist.People NEED to understand the nature of such addictions beofre posting such ridiculous posts.

I do not pretend to be an leading authority on Cg but i know an lot about it and more than enough to validate these posts i am making.Cg is an serious pathological disorder where people will ho to any lengths to have an bet,wager whatever you want to callit without thinking of the consequences until the episode is finished.People can obtain help for this but will NEVER be cured and this is where backdoor casino emails , calls etc etc are ruthless.I know people who have gone months,years without gambling whilst i hasten to add attending GAut one small newspaper ad,mail recieved,phone call, has planted an seed in there head and bang theyre back to the life they escaped from.

Again to the post above if this was all so easy just to give up then why do governemnts spend millions of s per year putting help measures in place because they know the volatility of such addictions and the implications on not only the CG but the uimmediate welfare of people around them esp wifes,husbands,kids who share the loss as much as the CG themselves.So please stop this ignorance and try to help rather than mock these people.
 

frufrugirl

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This one dosnt surprise me as Indiana is woefully negligent in gaming regulation, out of the 12 catagories in statutes and regulations in the AGA, they have commitments in only two, self exclusion and treatment funding. The other catagories are:
Helpline
advertsing restrictions
Alcohol service
credit restrictions
employee training
empolyee PG prevention
Loss Unit/limited stakes
Marketing/direct mail
Postage/signage
Public awarness.

Since they dont have any statutes on credit restrictions or advertising restrictions nor any commitments to making the public aware of problem gaming, it dosnt surprise me they didnt put her on a disassociated persons list or one that was longer than 2 years, when she was involved in debt litagation earlier. What does suprise me though is that this casino does have employees go through problem gambling training, which does emphasis recognizing and acting upon unusual gambling behavior (not paying back debts?)
I dont think the casino can be held legally liable at this point. They will do as little as possible to maintain their profits. They already put in a huge amount to the community and if not pushed by the state with regulations..why rock the boat, sorry for the pun. If anyone is to be held liable for this, it is the State,for failure to protect her people from a industry that when not regulated, could become preditory.(as we are seeing in the online industry and, in this case. )The Indiana Problem Gambling council offers an 800 number but no state programs are available. Treatment is referal to private organizations.

As for CG, most often when a person realizes they are a compulsive gambler it is often too late, they are usually deeply in debt or so addicted they cannot monitor their behavior without help. Because anxiety disorders and depression disorders are closely associated with CG, basically as a result of the behavior, it often takes an act of intervention from a loved one a workplace or creditor to get them to take action to stop the cycle. Chronic CGs are usually not under medical care because of lack of funds.

I still think the States need to step up to the plate and get their heads out of the sand and issue uniform policies to monitor Casinos. Just as we wish the Us Government would get their head out of their fannies and offer regulation in the online industry instead of prohabition (which we all know dosnt work)to protect her people while still allowingthem their basic rights of freedom.

Just my 2 cents!
 
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