Blackjack Card Counter Argues His Case At Indiana Supreme CourtApril 13, 2010 8:35 am
A blackjack player banned from Grand Victoria Casino in 2006 for card counting has been arguing unfair treatment at Indiana’s Supreme Court this week.
Tom Donovan is a retired computer programmer who learned to count cards via an online class and subsequently was able to win around $65,000 playing blackjack over a 7 year period.
Donovan’s winning ways did not go unnoticed by the Grand Victoria Casino on the Ohio River at Rising Sun, and so they banned him from their blackjack tables, with a Marion County court upholding the casino’s decision.
However, after the state appeals court later came out on the side of Tom Donovan, the casino asked for the matter to be referred to the high court, where it is currently being heard.
Any decision reached by the Indiana Supreme Court will likely have major repercussions for the casino industry in Northwest Indiana, who face having to treat card counters the same as their other gambling clientele.
So far the casino has been arguing that Common law permits them to refuse anyone entrance to their premises, along as its not a “bad reason,” but Tom Donovan’s attorney Marc Sedwick, countered by arguing that “Gaming is a statutory creature” that didn’t exist in common-law times.
Early signs are that the court doesn’t see the matter quite so simply either, with Justice Frank Sullivan Jr commenting:
“Your casino could offer only games where nothing but pure chance governs, the slot machines, dice and the like but your casino offers games where skill can be a factor, like blackjack and poker, in an effort to attract customers who think they have the requisite skill to win.”
“But once you identify a customer who has the requisite skill to win, you pull the rug out from under them and say ‘Sorry you can’t play,’ ”
Although the court can rule at any time, a final decision is likely to be reached a few months down the line. In the meantime the casinos will have to sweat the unpleasant prospect of seeing their profits squeezed even further for a while longer.