The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered the Monte Carlo Casino in Las Vegas to pay a "card counter" the money he won before casino employees kicked him out.
The casino released the money Richard Chen started with but refused to give him his winnings on grounds he used false identification when he bought chips to enter the 21 game.
While the district court refused to overturn the Gaming Control Board decision supporting that action, the high court Thursday ordered he be paid in full.
"Chen's skill in playing blackjack rather than his misrepresentation of identity was the proximate cause of his winnings," the opinion by Justice Miriam Shearing says. "The false identification allowed Chen to receive $44,000 in chips but it did not cause Chen to win."
Chen used a false passport when he bought chips to start playing. After his winnings began to pile up, the casino recognized him as a card counter and ordered him to cash out and leave. When he presented the false ID again to collect on $84,400 in chips, the casino called for Gaming Control agents. The state agents investigated but, when they found no crime, told the Monte Carlo to release the money to Chen.
The casino refused saying his use of false ID constituted fraud and he should only get back the money he started with.
The Supreme Court ruled there was no fraud and that, while the casino is allowed to kick out card counters like Chen, he should be awarded his winnings. The opinion instructs the district court to direct that Chen be paid his $40,400 in winnings.