New Jersey and Indiana Casinos May Not Eject Blackjack Players for Card Counting

From Donovan v. Grand Victoria Casino & Resort (Oct. 30), in which the Indiana Court of Appeals so holds, and cites a 1982 New Jersey case so holding:

[The casino] may not simply take refuge in the common law right of exclusion, inasmuch as it is the public policy of this State that gambling is subject to “strict regulation,” and the Commission has been given exclusive authority to set rules of riverboat casino games. The Commission did not enact a prohibition against card counting and Grand Victoria did not seek a prohibition by rule amendment. No law, regulation, or duly promulgated rule advised Donovan that the skill of card counting was prohibited.

Indiana has implemented a comprehensive scheme for regulating riverboat gambling and thus has partially abrogated the common law right of exclusion.

I think this is a bad rule, and that casinos should be free to eject card counters from their property. Nor am I sure that this is indeed the best interpretation of the statutory text; I haven’t looked closely enough at the statutes to form a reliable opinion, but the statutes that the court cites don’t strike me as persuasive on this — that the statutes control the “rules of the game” doesn’t mean, I think, that they control the casino’s choices about whom to allow to play the game. But in any event, this appears to be the law in Indiana and New Jersey, which I didn’t know until I read the case.

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