A major controversy over fraudulent activity at an Atlantic City poker tournament seems to have been resolved. A New Jersey appellate court recently ruled that gaming officials properly paid out cash to players entered in the poker tournament – despite the fact that the tournament was cancelled after it was discovered that someone had cheated.
The poker tournament was held at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2014, with poker players from all over the country coming to Atlantic City to compete in the event. When there were 27 players remaining in the tournament, casino officials learned that one of the players had introduced fake poker chips into the competition.
Remarkably, officials learned of the fraud and deception when the player who committed the fraud attempted to conceal his crime by flushing chips down the toilet at a neighboring hotel and casino. The chips clogged the toilet, leading to the shocking discovery of the fake poker chips by plumbers.
The suspect, a 43-year-old man from North Carolina, was subsequently placed under arrest and charged with multiple federal crimes, including trademark counterfeiting and criminal mischief. He was ultimately sentenced to a term of incarceration of five years in a federal penitentiary.
However, one issue still remained unresolved: a complaint filed by several professional poker players who claimed that the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement had wrongly and arbitrarily distributed payouts in the cancelled poker tournament. New Jersey gaming officials had ordered the Borgata casino to pay out equal amounts to each of the 27 players who remained in the event at the time of its cancellation. The remainder of the $1.7 million in tournament funds was distributed to more than 2,100 players who had been previously eliminated from the event.
Several poker players filed suit, alleging that the NJ gaming commission had violated their due process rights by issuing their “arbitrary” ruling on payouts. A New Jersey appellate court disagreed, with the court’s three-judge panel finding that gaming officials acted reasonably under the circumstances.
For more information about this case, access the Press of Atlantic City article, “Phony Poker Chip Tournament Payout Fair, Judge Rules.”
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