Argentina’s City Center Casino to Pay ARS $5M to Man Beaten by Security

Posted on: September 7, 2022, 07:23h. 

Last updated on: October 27, 2022, 08:00h.

In old-school Las Vegas, it was commonly accepted that street justice was the preferred method for keeping gamblers honest. That time has passed in Sin City, but the approach is still apparently used in Argentina, and it’s going to cost one casino a lot of money.

City Center Rosario
The City Center Rosario complex in Santa Fe, Argentina at night. A judge ordered the casino to pay ARS S5 million in a lawsuit after security personnel allegedly beat up a patron and left him partially handicapped. (Image: City Center Rosario)

A judge has ordered the City Center Rosario Casino to pay up following an incident that occurred over six years ago. It will have to hand over ARS5 million (US$35,560 at today’s exchange rate) unless a higher court overturns the verdict, which is now on appeal.

In May 2016, the then-48-year-old unidentified gambler was at the casino, looking for Lady Luck on a slot machine. He noticed that the buttons on the machine didn’t work properly, so he began using the old-fashioned lever. Unfortunately, that proved to be an almost fatal mistake.

Overzealous Security

Perhaps unaccustomed to gamblers resorting to the old-fashioned slot action, casino security apparently misinterpreted what was happening. The lawsuit explained that the lever made noise as the gambler operated it, which the staff interpreted as aggression toward the machine on the part of the patron.

Casino personnel rebuked him for what they assumed was him physically attacking the slot. He then got up to find another slot, but security intervened. They then took him to a small room where they beat him before handing him over to local police, according to the lawsuit. They never charged him with any crimes.

After returning home, the gambler began urinating blood. In addition, he started bleeding from his ears. Ultimately, he lost the use of 15% of his body.

Three days later, he filed a complaint with the local prosecutor. The subsequent investigation requested surveillance footage from the casino, but it wasn’t available. By that point, the casino had already recorded over the previous recordings.

Unplausible Deniability

When the case finally made it to trial, casino representatives denied the accusations. They said that staff saw the plaintiff hit the machine, disturbing the peace and attacking company property. In addition, they indicated that the man attacked employees and security personnel.

The lack of surveillance footage to corroborate their version of events led directly to the judge’s ruling. In deciding for the plaintiff, he explained that the victim had entered into a contract that falls within the scope of Argentina’s consumer protection law. Since it could not support its version of the events with any evidence, this tipped the scales in the victim’s favor.

The judge added that, at a minimum, the casino had an obligation to retain the surveillance footage given the nature of the incident. Since it didn’t, it was negligent and irresponsible. That, he added, made it guilty as well.

The ruling indicated that casino personnel mistreated and beat the man. It added that the financial penalty is justified by the lack of evidence on the part of the casino and the evidence supporting the physical assault the gambler received.

The man won’t be able to keep all the money, though. He will only receive 30% (about $10,670), while the rest will go to a support group for gambling addicts.