Suit: MGM paid problem gambler to not report online glitches

Sep 29, 2022, 12:49 PM | Updated: 1:50 pm
The exterior of the Borgata casino, left, and its Water Club hotel, right, are seen Oct. 1, 2020. O...

The exterior of the Borgata casino, left, and its Water Club hotel, right, are seen Oct. 1, 2020. On Sept. 28, 2022, a New York man sued the Borgata, its parent company and an online betting partner, alleging they paid him $30,000 a month not to report regular malfunctions of online games that caused him to be disconnected and lose out on winning hands. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

(AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New York City man is suing an Atlantic City casino, its parent company and its online betting partner, alleging he was repeatedly disconnected while gambling online, and was given payments to prevent him from reporting the malfunctions to New Jersey gambling regulators during a nine-month span in which he wagered over $29 million.

Sam Antar says he is a compulsive gambler — a fact he says was well-known to defendants in the case including the Borgata casino, MGM Resorts International, and its online partner Entain.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in state Superior Court in Middlesex County, Antar accuses the defendants of fraud, racketeering and other transgressions. His lawsuit asserts that he experienced thousands of disconnections from the online platforms, often when he had a winning hand that was then wiped out.

His lawyer, Christopher Gramiccioni, said Antar experienced a disconnection rate approaching 50% during the nine months covered by the lawsuit. He added Antar, 46, had lost “easily hundreds of thousands of dollars” during that time.

“It’s one thing if you have technical issues intermittently,” said Gramiccioni, a former Monmouth County prosecutor. “It is quite another when you have them 50% of the time. The casino did not take corrective action as required. They kept doubling down and giving him $30,000 a month, feeding him extra money to try to avoid scrutiny by the regulatory agencies.”

The Borgata and MGM declined comment through a spokesman. Entain did not reply to requests for comment.

New Jersey is in the process of deciding whether to extend its law authorizing internet gambling for another 10 years.

Antar is a convicted fraudster who faces the prospect of additional prison time in November for a scheme in which he cheated friends and relatives of money he used to feed his compulsive gambling habit. In the most recent case, he has pleaded guilty to theft by deception.

He also is the nephew of Eddie Antar, who founded the Crazy Eddie electronics stores in the 1970s and 1980s, who defrauded investors out of more than $74 million. Eddie Antar died in 2016.

In 2013, Sam Antar was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for taking $225,000 in a fraudulent investment scheme.

“I’ve been in prison once, and I’m probably facing prison again, and it all had to do with me not being able to admit to myself I was a compulsive gambler,” Antar said in an interview with The Associated Press Thursday. “When I look at what I did, I’m sick about it. A lot of people have this problem and they need help.”

In his lawsuit, Antar claims he alerted numerous employees and officials with the gambling companies to the fact that there was a serious, recurring problem with disconnections, but that they knowingly kept malfunctioning games available to the public because they were too profitable to take down.

He says his complaints were made to local supervisors and VIP hosts, an online complaint portal, and even to the president of the casino and the CEO of its parent company.

He also claims the companies paid him near-daily bonuses totaling $30,000 a month to keep him playing and to entice him not to report problems with the games to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. His lawyer says Antar never contacted the enforcement division, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Antar played live dealer blackjack and online slots, sometimes for 24 hours straight, he said in his lawsuit; he bet more than $5 million in one 16-day period in January 2020. During the nine month period covered in the suit, he made more than 100,000 online bets.

Antar said employees acknowledged problems with the system were affecting other customers as well. In a July 17, 2019 text and email conversation, Antar quotes one as telling him “other players are not getting anywhere near what you are getting” in terms of compensation for being kicked offline while gambling.

The suit also references an Oct. 8, 2019 text message from an MGM representative that read, “OK, let’s do this: I need you (to) email me that we are closing the case and that you will no longer contact (the Borgata president) or the DGE about the case,” referring to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Antar, the suit asserted, had no choice but to agree.

“I just needed to keep gambling,” Antar said.

He said he is not currently gambling, having made his last bet on Feb. 3, 2021.

___

Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Containers are seen at a port in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province on Oct. 27, 202...
Associated Press

China November trade sinks under virus pressure, rate hikes

BEIJING (AP) — China’s imports and exports shrank in November under pressure from weakening global demand and anti-virus controls at home. Exports sank 9% from a year ago to $296.1 billion, worsening from October’s 0.9% decline, customs data showed Wednesday. Imports fell 10.9% to $226.2 billion, down from the previous month’s 0.7% retreat in a […]
22 hours ago
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaks during a campaign rally at Georgia Tech Monday, Dec. 5, 20...
Associated Press

Why AP called the Georgia Senate runoff for Warnock

There weren’t enough uncounted votes in Republican-leaning areas for GOP challenger Herschel Walker to make up his runoff election night gap with incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. That’s what led The Associated Press to call the race for Warnock late Tuesday. The vast majority of the uncounted votes rested in Democratic strongholds, meaning that Walker […]
22 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden, right, stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting on the s...
Associated Press

US approves $425 million in arms sales to Taiwan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Tuesday signed off on two new significant arms sales to Taiwan in approvals that are sure to rankle China. The State Department said it had okayed sales worth more than $425 million of spare aircraft parts to support Taiwan’s fleet of F-16 fighters, C-130 transport planes and other […]
22 hours ago
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock speaks during an election day canvass launch on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 20...
Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Warnock wins Georgia runoff against Walker

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats an outright majority in the Senate for the rest of President Joe Biden’s term and helping cap an underwhelming midterm cycle for the GOP in the last major vote of the year. With Warnock’s second […]
22 hours ago
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a memorial...
Associated Press

China’s Xi visiting Saudi Arabia amid bid to boost economy

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping is attending a pair of regional summits in Saudi Arabia this week amid efforts to kick-start economic growth weighed down by strict anti-COVID-19 measures. The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Xi will attend the inaugural China-Arab States Summit and a meeting with leaders of the six nations that […]
22 hours ago
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., departs after speak during a Congressional Gold Med...
Associated Press

Congress set to rescind COVID-19 vaccine mandate for troops

WASHINGTON (AP) — The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military would be rescinded under the annual defense bill heading for a vote this week in Congress, ending a directive that helped ensure the vast majority of troops were vaccinated but also raised concerns that it harmed recruitment and retention. Republicans, emboldened by […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Suit: MGM paid problem gambler to not report online glitches