This should be a semi-fascinating case should it not get insta-folded as frivolous: Two “recreational” California poker players, Dennis Chae and Jeff Kim, have sued the Bike, Commerce, Hustler, Hollywood Park, and Hawaiian Gardens casinos — alleging that the dollar-a-pot raked for bad beat jackpots makes them illegal lotteries.
In a 2005 advisory, then-Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer cautioned casinos that the promotions violated state law unless players were allowed to win the jackpots without paying the fee. It’s the same legal principle that requires McDonald’s to give away game pieces for its popular Monopoly game to consumers who ask for them, regardless of whether they buy anything.
On its surface, the lawsuit seems like a hustle. I’m not sure how much in damages are they’re seeking, but the suit requests class-action status and hopes to enlist 10s of thousands of poker players as plaintiffs. But at the same time, Chae and Kim may have a technical point, at least to the extent that casinos advertise these promotions. We’ll have to see about how the finer details of rakeage break down according to California law. Honestly, can’t see this getting too far … but then again, it’s hard to say how many people might jump at the chance to score some rebate and slightly improve their EV retroactively.