Players Sue Five California Cardrooms over Bad Beat Rake

by , May 9, 2009 | 8:31 am

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.

3 Comments to “Players Sue Five California Cardrooms over Bad Beat Rake”

  1. California Jen

    While I don’t like what these defendants are doing here, they really do seem to have a point. The CA casinos were warned about this lottery law back in 2005 and ignored the warnings because bad beat jackpots are so popular with players. I think this one has legs, especially if other down-and-out poker players decide to join the class action and see if they can get a few bucks.

  2. jim jay

    I maintain wheather you win the pot or not the rake effects everyone am i wrong?

  3. jim jones

    the rake only effects you if you win a pot.