The Supreme Court in Indiana is hearing an appeal in a case involving a compulsive gambler who in one night lost $125,000 advanced to her by the casino. On March 18, 2006, Jenny Kephart went to Ceasars Riverboat Casino, now the Horseshoe Southern Indiana casino, where she lost $125,000 in credit provided by Caesars at a blackjack table. Kephart admits that she’s a pathological gambler. She claims that the casino knew of her addiction and wealth and was preyed upon.
However, after being sued for the money, Kephart defended on the grounds that the casino employees should have denied a gambling addict access to the game. Kephart’s attorney, Terry Noffsinger, said, “This casino intentionally, knowing she was a compulsive gambler, went after her to get her to gamble. And, of course, the odds are in the favor of the house and she lost a lot of money.” Noffsinger stated that they offered her a car to take her to the casino, a free room and free drinks and then she lost several thousand dollars of her own money, they gave her $125,000 in credit.
The defendants assert that Lephart should have enrolled in the state’s Voluntary Exclusion Program, which allows individuals with compulsive gambling problems to add themselves to a database that casinos crosscheck when they take identification from guests, typically when they are cashing in on big wins or requesting credit. Kephart says she didn’t enroll in the program because she was unaware of the severity of her addiction.
The lower court ruled 2-1 in favor of the casino. If reversed on apppeal, it would set a precedent in the law for protecting a compulsive gambler, as case law so far has not imposed a duty on another to prevent compulsive gambling.