Borgata Casino and Gemaco Move to Settle High-Profile Dispute Off Court

Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino has moved to settle the remaining portion of its claim against card manufacturer Gemaco in a high-profile case involving the gambling venue and popular poker pro Phil Ivey.

Legal news outlet Law360 reported that according to a Friday letter filed in a New Jersey federal court by the Borgata, the casino and Gemaco have begun “discussing a resolution” of their dispute. The two parties requested 60 days to negotiate the terms of a potential settlement. The letter was filed by the Borgata’s legal team, but it stated that Gemaco attorneys concurred with the settlement request.

The letter was filed days after a US District Judge partially granted the card manufacturer a summary judgment motion, concluding that Gemaco was not to blame for the edge-sorting scheme deployed by Ivey and his companion player Cheung Yin Sun at the Borgata. The two players are also sued by the Atlantic City casino.

In 2012, Ivey and Sun made several visits to the Borgata to play baccarat at the venue. The two players requested a private pit, a Mandarin-speaking dealer, and decks of purple Gemaco cards. They eventually won $9.6 million over eight playing sessions.

The Borgata later on discovered that the two players requested namely purple Gemaco cards because these had tiny discrepancies on their backs. In other words, Ivey and Sun exploited the differences on the cards’ backs to gain advantage over the casino. The technique they used is known in the casino gambling field as edge-sorting.

The Borgata filed a lawsuit against the two players, seeking to recoup the money it had to pay out to Ivey and his companion player plus damages. The casino later on decided to sue the card manufacturer, as well, blaming it for making it possible for players to exploit product defects.

Latest Ruling

In his latest ruling, presiding Judge Noel Hillman stated that Ivey and Sun were to blame for deploying the controversial playing technique, thus denying the Borgata’s motion for summary judgment and partially granting Gemaco’s cross-motion. The Judge further ruled that the card manufacturer was “not liable for any tort claims” made by the Atlantic City casino.

However, he pointed out in his latest ruling that it might be premature to grant Gemaco a summary judgment on the casino’s claim that the card manufacturer breached the express warranty that its cards should be fit for use and compliant with the New Jersey Casino Control Act. It will thus be up to the Borgata and Gemaco to negotiate and settle the issue. If they fail to reach an accord, they could seek to resolve the dispute in court.

Even though the Borgata was denied summary judgment on most of its claims, it should be noted that the latest ruling might not be that bad news for the casino in its now four-year long battle to regain the money it paid out to the two players. As mentioned above, Judge Hillman said that Ivey and Sun were to blame for the use of the edge-sorting technique.

The judge ruled against the two players in the fall of 2016, pointing out that the use of the controversial technique breached the player-casino contract between players and New Jersey casinos. Ivey’s legal team also filed a motion for summary judgment so that it is able to appeal that ruling. However, an appeal can be filed only after the Borgata and Gemaco resolve their legal dispute.

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