Poker player Scott Robbins is suing the Borgata Atlantic City after casino staff banned him for life over a joke he made about jumping out of his hotel room window.
Robbins wants $1.2 million in potential lost earnings, arguing that Borgata management’s alleged overreaction to some off-the-cuff-remarks made at the front desk violated his civil rights.
Meanwhile, the defendants’ subsequent actions and statements were “an effort to distract from their failings” and slandered Robbins, while breaching public trust, the lawsuit claims.
In September 2020, Robbins arrived at the Atlantic City casino to play in the WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event. While there, he was able to win an entry ticket worth $3,500 in a $400 satellite.
That evening, while checking into the hotel, Robbins was asked by the desk clerk whether he would prefer a room on a high floor or a low floor.
Per the lawsuit:
[Robbins] jokingly responded, “If I had to jump from a high floor window [meaning, in case of fire or earthquake], would I make it?” The clerk responded with “NO, don’t do that.” He then responded with “I won’t.” Accordingly, in keeping with the conversation, he asked “would I make it if I had to jump out of a lower floor?” She also responded with “NO, don’t do that.” Again, he said clearly, “I won’t,” and then, again, in keeping with the conversation, laughingly said: “but since I wouldn’t survive either, I guess it doesn’t matter what floor you give me.”
Robbins asserts in his complaint that there was laughter, and the jocular context of the conversation was understood. He was allocated a room on the Borgata’s 50th floor. The lawsuit notes that the hotel windows at the Borgata are several inches thick and do not open.
Trip to a Psychiatrist
Shortly after Robbins had unpacked his belongings, casino security arrived at his room to inform him he was a danger to himself and would have to go to a hospital to be examined by a psychiatrist before he could return.
Robbins was bemused but complied with the casino’s request. He got in the ambulance that had been called by the casino, for which he was charged $1,157, and was transported to Atlanticare Regional Medical Center.
There, a psychiatrist immediately issued Robbins a psychiatric clearance notice ($865) stating the poker player neither posed a danger to himself nor anyone else. Robbins even laughed the incident off with the psychiatrist.
‘Wonton and Reckless’
But when he returned to the Borgata, he found he had been “banned for life” from the premises. Not only was he barred from participating in the tournament for which he held a 3,500 ticket, but also from all future tournaments held at the Borgata.
Robbins says he was a regular on the Borgata poker circuit. Nationwide, he has grossed $417,325 in live tournament wins since 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that before the day was out the defendant had “wantonly and recklessly” made it known to others, “including but not limited to others on the Borgata and professional poker circuits, that Mr. Robbins was banned for life from the Borgata because of a suicide attempt.”
As a result, he lost corporate and individual sponsorships estimated at up to $200,000, the lawsuit states.
Based upon his earnings from previous Borgata poker tournaments, in conjunction with his yearly earnings percentage, Robbins believes he could have made an approximate net amount of $85,000 per year at the casino.
He is demanding $850,000 for ten lost years of theoretical future tournament play, plus another $200,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.
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