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Marina District Development Co., LLC v. Ivey

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
2016 WL 6138239 (Oct. 21, 2016)


Phillip Ivey and Cheng Yin Sun (defendants) requested specific accommodations to play baccarat at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (Borgata) (plaintiff). The accommodations included a private table and dealer, as well as a specific type of playing cards. Ivey and Sun claimed that they needed the accommodations because they were superstitious. The playing cards were manufactured so that the design on the back of the cards was not identical on each edge of the card. In other words, the cards were cut so the design was cut off at different points on each edge. Ivey and Sun used this design to remember which cards were helpful to them in the game and which cards were unhelpful. Ivey and Sun asked the dealer to turn good cards in a certain way and turn bad cards in the opposite way. The dealer again thought that this was merely due to superstition. The process, called “edge sorting,” substantially increased Ivey and Sun’s odds of winning. The Borgata brought suit against Ivey and Sun for breach of contract, alleging that they impliedly agreed to gamble at the Borgata pursuant to the New Jersey Casino Control Act (CCA). The CCA prohibited playing baccarat with marked cards. The Borgata also filed a claim for fraud, alleging that Ivey and Sun materially misrepresented their requests as superstition, as opposed to their true purpose of card marking. Both parties moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hillman, J.)

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