Borgata Settles $1.2M Lawsuit With Poker’s Robbins Over ‘Suicide Risk’
Posted on: September 23, 2021, 12:56h.
Last updated on: September 23, 2021, 03:15h.
The Borgata in Atlantic City has settled a lawsuit brought by poker player Scott Robbins, according to court filings. The Massachusetts native sued the casino in July after it banned him for life for an off-the-cuff remark he made about jumping out of the window.
Robbins claimed his civil rights had been infringed by the ban. He also argued he had been slandered by casino staff when they allegedly told other poker players he had been barred “because of a suicide attempt.”
The lawsuit demanded $1.2 million in potential lost earnings from future Borgata poker tournaments and sponsorship deals. The sum the two parties settled for has not been disclosed. But in a recent post on the TwoPlusTwo poker forums, Robbins indicated he was satisfied with the result.
The case has been voluntarily dismissed, according to a recent filing to the US District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The player told the forum he accepted the best of three offers, claiming that the casino “desperately wanted to settle because they knew they would lose in court.”
“I just wanted to make a point that they arbitrarily and irresponsibly banned me because their employee misunderstood what I said because English wasn’t her first language,” he explained.
According to the lawsuit, the incident took place in September 2019, when Robbins arrived at the casino to play in the WPT Borgata Poker Open Main Event. Before he checked in, he won a satellite tournament for a seat in the event, worth $3,500.
Later, when the employee at the front desk asked him whether he would prefer a room on a high or a low floor, he replied, “If I had to jump from a low floor window, would I make it?”
Robbins denies he was making a “suicide joke,” as was widely reported in the media. He says he was highlighting that there would be no difference in the outcome if he had to jump from a high or low window in the event of a fire.
“Since I wouldn’t survive either, I guess it doesn’t matter what floor you give me,” he said, according to court filings.
Robbins said there was laughter, and he believed the jocular context of the exchange was understood.
But shortly after arriving at his room, security arrived to inform him he was a “suicide risk.” They urged him to undergo psychiatric evaluation before he could return.
Psych Test No Joke
A bemused Robbins was transported to a local hospital where he was quickly given the all-clear, even laughing off the incident with the psychiatrist. He picked up the $1,157 tab for the ambulance and the $865 fee for the evaluation from his own pocket.
But when he got back to the casino, he found he had been 86’d, not just from the following day’s WPT event, but from all future Borgata tournaments.
Robbins claimed that subsequent rumors that spread around the casino about a “suicide attempt” resulted in the loss of sponsorship interest.
The $1.2 million sought in damages was based on the $417,325 in live tournament earnings Robbins had grossed since 2018.
The Borgata’s abundance of caution may have been provoked by the suicide of a professional volleyball player just months before. Cherry Hill, New Jersey resident Eric Zaun, 25, jumped to his death from the 29th floor of the casino on July 11, 2019.
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