Sam Antar is suing BetMGM, claiming the online gaming company denied him access to his winnings while enticing him to remain a customer with bonuses, preying on his compulsive wagering habit in the process.
In litigation filed yesterday in New Jersey Superior Court, Antar said he experienced frequent technological malfunctions while playing blackjack and other casino games through BetMGM, adding that those glitches usually appeared while he had winning hands. The plaintiff added that the internet casino frequently would not allow him to withdraw winnings unless he made new deposits into his wagering account.
The suit names BetMGM, the Borgata Hotel-Casino, Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) as defendants. MGM and Entain each control 50% of BetMGM. Borgata, which Antar purports to have visited dozens of times, is the Nevada-based casino company’s lone venue on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey.
The civil suit claims BetMGM violated various consumer fraud protection, gross negligence and racketeering statutes. Antar previously had his own run-in with authorities. In 2019, New Jersey prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused him of duping family and friends in a financial scheme, using the proceeds to fund his compulsive betting habit.
Antar is the nephew of the late Eddie Antar — the proprietor of the Crazy Eddie’s electronic retailers that were ubiquitous in the Northeast in the 1970s and 1980s. The elder Antar cooked the books at his company, defrauding investors along the way. Prior to his passing in 2016, he helped companies identify corporate fraud and spoke publicly about the topic.
Antar Was Devoted BetMGM Customer
In the court document, counsel for Antar claim that in a nine-month stretch spanning May 2009 to January 2020, the plaintiff wagered $29 million with BetMGM. It’s not clear how much of that sum was bet at Borgata, though it’s estimated he visited the Boardwalk casino 30 times while he was an MGM client.
Over that nine-month period, Antar often played six to eight hours a day on BetMGM in New Jersey, placing in excess of 100,000 bets at $5,000 per hand, according to the suit. He alleges that over that time, he experienced “thousands” of internet disconnections and was denied favorable payments when he was. Antar also claims that he’d frequently double down on hands — an oft-used blackjack tactic — and when he’d win, BetMGM wouldn’t pay him accordingly.
The complaint also notes that on multiple occasions, Antar tried to withdraw winnings from his account and was unable to do so unless he made new deposits. Additionally, he alleges that upon contacting the gaming company and telling staff there he planned to take his concerns to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), BetMGM engaged in a “corrupt scheme” to “bribe” him with daily bonuses totaling more than $30,000 a month to compel him not to contact regulators.
BetMGM is the largest internet casino company in the US and the second-largest online sportsbook operator. New Jersey is one of six states that permit regulated online casino games. The others are Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Not First Time for BetMGM
BetMGM has been down this road before. Sort of. Last year, a Michigan woman claimed she won $3 million playing roulette on BetMGM after turning $50 into as much as $11 million. Her suit indicates she went to MGM Grand in Detroit and was given $100,000 in cash. She returned the next day for the remaining $2.9 million and the gaming company supposedly balked, citing a technical glitch.
However, courts’ treatment of these cases may well differ. Regarding Antar, he was on a self-exclusion list due to his betting habit, but he removed himself from that list in 2018, according to his legal complaint.
In 2019, he started betting heavily with MGM, attaining Noir status in the MGM Rewards program — the highest level. Antar asserts BetMGM and MGM were aware of his wagering problem and related vulnerabilities. Convincing a judge or jury of the gaming company’s malfeasance could prove difficult.
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