Borgata Casino Settles $1.25 Million Suicide ‘Joke’ Lawsuit With Poker Pro

Written By David Danzis on September 30, 2021

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and poker pro Scott Robbins came to an amicable resolution over a $1.25 million lawsuit and a lifetime ban from the Atlantic City gambling parlor.

The two sides settled the matter earlier this month, according to court documents filed with the U.S. District Court of New Jersey.
Details of the settlement were not disclosed. On the Reddit-style poker forum TwoPlusTwo, Robbins said he was satisfied with the result.

Robbins, of Millbury, Mass., sued Borgata in June for alleged civil rights violations, false imprisonment, and defamation stemming from a 2019 incident. He was banned from Borgata after making an off-hand remark to a desk clerk about jumping from a hotel room window.
The poker player said Borgata “desperately wanted to settle because they knew they would lose in court.”

Borgata ban ‘arbitrary and capricious’

Neither Borgata nor parent-company MGM Resorts International has publicly commented.

It is unclear if Robbins is permitted to play poker again at Borgata, or if he intends to.

“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,” Robbins said.

New Jersey Law Journal reported over the summer that Robbins’ attorney, Frederic Goetz, described Borgata’s actions against his client as “arbitrary and capricious.”

“Big corporations can’t just treat people the way they want because they’re big corporations,” Goetz told NJLJ.

No one at Borgata is laughing

According to Robbins’ complaint, the incident occurred on Sept. 14, 2019. While checking into the hotel prior to a poker tournament, the clerk asked if Robbins would like a room on a high or low floor.

He “jokingly responded, ‘If I had to jump from a high floor window [meaning, in case of fire or earthquake], would I make it?’” the complaint reads. “The clerk responded with ‘NO, don’t do that.’

After insisting he wouldn’t jump, Robbins then asked, “Would I make it if I had to jump out of a lower floor?” The clerk again responded with “NO, don’t do that.”

Robbins said clearly, “I won’t,” his lawsuit claims. He then “laughingly” added, “But since I wouldn’t survive either, I guess it doesn’t matter what floor you give me.”

No joking matter

The quip earned Robbins a visit from security and a trip to a local medical facility for a psychological evaluation. He was cleared but still got banned from the Atlantic City casino.

Robbins also missed the scheduled poker tournament. Other players were told by Borgata employees Robbins was absent because of a suicide attempt, the complaint alleged.

Counting up the losses

As a result, Robbins claims he lost $200,000 in commercial sponsorship income.

But the big loss was projected earnings based on past results. The suit estimates Robbins could lose about $85,000 per year over the next decade by being banned from Borgata poker events.

He also sought reimbursement for the nearly $2,000 healthcare bill.

The exact amount of the filed lawsuit was $1,253,368.75.

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David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.

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