The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Atlantic City's Golden Nugget Sues Over Unshuffled Playing Cards

After what seemed to be an unprecedented winning streak at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, where 14 players won a total of more than $1.5 million, the casino is looking to get its money back, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. On its face, this looks like a case of the casino being a sore loser, but look closer and it is more like an enormous product liability case.

So far, it's been reported that Gemaco, a Missouri-based playing-card manufacturer, failed to shuffle its playing cards before shipping them to the Nugget, according to the Daily News. Once the cards arrived at the Nugget, no one there shuffled the cards either, so when they hit the mini-baccarat game table the players were able to notice a pattern. That pattern played out for more than two and a half hours.

A judge last week ordered the Golden Nugget to allow the winners to cash in their chips, and the Nugget's owner said he wouldn't appeal. But the casino may still have an ace up its sleeve in a defective-product lawsuit against Gemaco.

A products liability claim arises when there is a defect in a product. These defects can be in the design, manufacture, or marketing of a product. For Atlantic City's Golden Nugget, the claim would likely be made that there was a defect in the manufacture of the cards.

This type of manufacturing defect happens when the end product of the manufacturing process does not match the specifications. In other words, the product isn't exactly what it was supposed to be.

Here, there wasn't an issue with the actual shape or printing of the cards. Rather, the issue is that the cards in the finished decks had not been shuffled after printing. While this is not a very apparent defect, what matters is that the cards did not meet the specifications of the end-user, the Golden Nugget.

If shuffled decks were promised to the customer, then shipping unshuffled playing cards can lead to problems. However, Gemaco might be able to counter that the Nugget was at fault because it failed to shuffle the decks itself, which seems like a reasonable policy for a casino to have for just this type of situation.

So while it may seem like the Golden Nugget has been dealt a strong hand in its unshuffled playing cards lawsuit, Gemaco may want to put on its best poker face because it may have just as strong of a defense.

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