According to the law in Nevada, gambling isn't permitted if an individual is drunk, and Mr Johnston says that the Downtown Grand casino was perfectly aware of his intoxication because it was serving him free drinks for the duration of his stay. Johnston claims that he had already consumed 10 drinks before going to the casino, and that the venue served him another 20 at no cost. He passed out at that point, not realising how much had lost until he regained consciousness.
Johnston claims that the CCTV system installed in the casino will show his state of intoxication and he obviously hopes that the court will agree with his belief that the Downtown Grand is responsible for his losses. The businessman is suing the venue not just to try and get back the cash that he lost, but also to win compensation for the alleged damage that has been done to his reputation. The casino has responded by counter-suing the player.
Whilst it will be interesting to see how this case unfolds in court, casino gamblers won't have to wait for that to happen before they learn something useful from this story. The most important lesson that can be learned – and one that is as old as gaming itself – is that excessive consumption of alcohol and profitable gambling are rarely seen together in the same place. Yes, some people might happen to get lucky whilst in a state of severe inebriation, but as a general rule the likelihood of losing money only increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.
None of this is to say that gamblers shouldn't enjoy a drink or two when they visit a casino. Just don't get completely drunk, don't lose £300,000 by gambling recklessly and don't turn around and blame the casino if you end up doing both of those things. Whether the Nevada courts agree with this view remains to be seen, so watch this space and we'll keep you posted.