Man Sues Casino After ‘Follow-Home’ Robbery

Something about casino security attracts lawsuits. That something is likely the exchange of vast sums of money, even though it’s in the form of little plastic chips. Money is just paper, right?

Anyway, in the latest casino security lawsuit, a man is suing the St. Louis Casino Queen after he alleges two men stalked him in the gaming parlor, followed him home and then viciously mugged him, taking with them all his winnings ($17,500, according to the lawsuit). Sounds like a pretty bad day to me.

His beef with the casino in all this? It should have done more to protect him. The man, Mark Meyers, alleges that the Casino Queen knew about several previous “follow home” robberies and that it should have been on the lookout for the type of stalking he claims preceded his assault.

His complaint also faults the casino for over-serving him, and for failing to provide him with a safe method of receiving his winnings. According to the complaint, the transaction was conducted in a public place in cash, without the option of a check or other more-secure form of payment. Due to the large size of his winnings, Meyers had to fill out a W-9 form – in front of other customers. All of this, he said, marked him as a prime target for a follow-home robbery, and the casino should have done more to prevent it.

While Casino Queen had little to say on the matter (a stock response declining comment and noting that it “has provided an environment for millions of patrons to safely enjoy gaming for almost 20 years”), a commenter on a St. Louis paper’s story on the matter said that the casino does provide security, though patrons have to request it.

Casino security typically focuses on preventing theft from the house, not on protecting patrons, as airport or government building security systems do. Do casinos have a responsibility to protect their patrons from harm that may befall them as a result of their success at the tables?

It would make good business sense to make sure your customers know you’ll protect them if they win big. After all, when deciding between two casinos, a gambler is likely to go to the place where he knows he’s more likely to keep his money. But I’m not sure that casinos have a legal obligation to protect customers. Banks don’t, after all. What do you think?

Posted by Laura Williams on Jun 17, 2011

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