A convicted felon and self-described gambling addict from New York is doubling down on his legal crusade against an online casino in New Jersey.
According to an amended US District Court filing, Sam A. Antar alleges BetMGM, Atlantic City’s Borgata casino, and other defendants knowingly exploited his compulsive behavior for profit.
The May 1 document includes recent attempts to solicit betting activity from Antar just days after being released from prison on a fraud scheme his lawyers contend was fueling his gambling addiction.
In court documents, Antar admits to parking at various NJ highway rest stops in order to access BetMGM’s online casino app. Obviously without a legal industry in New York, Antar traveled to the Garden State to take advantage of NJ online casinos, which have been available since 2013.
‘Relentless’ pursuit of problem gambler by BetMGM, Borgata
The more recent complaint is a slimmed-down version of a nine-count lawsuit filed in 2022. Antar’s new attorney narrowed it down to three counts: violating the NJ Consumer Fraud Act, negligence and unjust enrichment.
Antar claims to have gambled almost $30 million between May 2019 and January 2020, placing over 100,000 online bets and going to Atlantic City over 30 times. Antar’s lawsuit says he is “a compulsive and vulnerable gambler.”
The court documents allege BetMGM NJ, Borgata, MGM Resorts International and Entain plc (the latter two jointly own BetMGM) and several employees “relentlessly” enticed Antar to gamble, despite being aware of his gambling addiction. The complaint says their “involvement in Sam’s addiction was not passive.”
On Dec. 6, 2022, attorneys for BetMGM and the other defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The motion described Antar as “a convicted felon and repeat fraudster who has pled guilty to defrauding numerous individuals out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in false stock investment schemes.”
Bad Wi-Fi? Or something worse?
Antar initially filed suit related to glitches in online blackjack and other internet casino games. He says the games would frequently disconnect, “oftentimes in the midst of favorable hands,” on BetMGM online casino.
When he threatened to alert the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, Antar says the gambling operator would pacify him with free bets.
Court documents say Antar has over 1,800 texts between himself and BetMGM representatives detailing how they enticed him to continue gambling. This even after he threatened to walk away.
Antar also says he was on NJ’s gambling self-exclusion list for a time before he took himself off, a fact that BetMGM and others allegedly knew.
Fraud sentencing backdrop of NJ online casinos lawsuit timeline
All this occurred while Antar awaited sentencing for stealing nearly $800,000 from an investor in New Jersey. A court sentenced him to three years in state prison on Dec. 9, 2022, leading to his release on probation on March 28, 2023.
Two days later, BetMGM reached out.
According to the amended court document, between March 30 and May 1, Antar received nine marketing emails from BetMGM with offers to gamble.
Staying in the family business
In 2013, Antar earned a 21-month sentence in federal prison for stealing $225,000 from an investor. Federal prosecutors in that case said Antar took the money and used it to gamble and buy stock options.
Antar is the nephew of infamous white-collar crook “Crazy Eddie” Antar. Elder Antar stole more than $145 million through a series of investment schemes and money laundering. He fled to Israel before eventually being captured.
He died in prison in 2016. “Crazy Eddie” electronics commercials were inescapable in the tristate area during the 1970s and 1980s.