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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Phil Ivey Files Reply Brief in Borgata Lawsuit

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According to a Reply Brief in "further support" of a previously filed motion by Phil Ivey and Cheng Yin Sun, Ivey's partner, was filed on July 29th, 2014.

Known as the world's greatest poker player and certainly one that is hard to bluff off of a hand if he feels he has the best of it, Ivey is not new to lawsuits filed on behalf of casinos for his use of a technique known as edge-sorting while playing Baccarat and Punto Banco (a form of Baccarat). His partner, Sun, played a role in his trips to both Borgata and Crockfords Casino. Borgata is asking the courts to order Ivey to repay the $9.6 million he won playing mini-baccarat in 2012 over four visits to the tables. has details of Ivey's reply to arguments presented by Borgata: “Without citing any legal authority, [Borgat] argues that the myriad of cases rejecting private lawsuits premised upon alleged violations of the Casino Control Act are inapplicable to suits brought by a casino. The attempt to salvage its Complaint rests upon the erroneous conclusion that since the Act regulates only [word underlined] licensed casinos, such licensees are the exception…. The precise contrary is true… For Plaintiff to prevail, the Court would have to find that the New Jersey Legislature intended, yet simply forgot to include any provision allowing a private damage remedy to gaming losers.”

One interesting point in the case is that New Jersey regulators have not been involved in prosecuting Ivey for this alleged fraud which is cited in the Reply Brief and Ivey's lawyers also point out that Borgata waited too long to file. “Plaintiff cannot have it both ways: either the game was illegal and the six-month statute of limitations has expired, of the game was lawful and Defendants won.”

Ivey's Reply Brief also brings poker into the picture: “[T]he suggestion that Defendants were under some sort of legal compulsion to ‘reveal their hand’ to Plaintiff while gambling, borderlines on ridiculous. That is akin to saying that one poker player bluffing another commits an illegal act.”

Undoubtedly true but seldom splashed onto the pages of a court document is this tasty little addition to the response: “The essential mission of Borgata’s casino operation is to encourage patrons to lose money by orchestrating a plethora of deceptive practices such as loud noises and flashing lights on slot machines, hiding the clocks, making exit signs almost impossible to find, having cocktail waitresses wear revealing clothing, and comping copious amounts of alcohol to ‘loosen up’ their patrons.”

The finale of the Reply Brief is one line: “Plaintiff’s only valid complaint is that it lost.”

Will Ivey prevail? Check back for updates.

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