Do Casinos Have to Stop Dealing to Gamblers who are Visibly Drunk?

By April 24, 2015DUI, Las Vegas, Nevada

Just this month, a California man has sued a casino in Las Vegas for allowing him to continue gambling even after he became excessively drunk. Though this may seem like a fictional headline or a frivolous lawsuit to you, if the man was extremely drunk—and visibly drunk—this may actually be a viable case. It is against the law in Nevada for casinos to allow visibly drunk customers to continue gambling. Casinos are also prohibited from offering free drinks to people who are visibly intoxicated. In these situations, casinos are required to cut the person off.

What constitutes being visibly drunk?

This is a difficult question because the answer is very subjective. One person will respond very differently compared to another person after having the same number of alcoholic drinks. Casino workers in Las Vegas often take alcohol intervention programs and are trained to recognize when someone has become drunk. After recognizing this, they are expected to prohibit the person from participating in gambling and to ask them to go back to their home or room.

In this specific case, the man’s lawsuit alleges that he was visibly drunk and was acting in ways that would have been easily identified by any casino employee. Some of his actions included dropping chips onto the floor, inability to read his hands or the cards on the table, becoming confused by the values and colors of different chips, and extremely slurred speech. Though he alleges that he was not able to remember his actions, one of the casino’s bartenders provided descriptions of his behavior.

Casino-Patron Responsibility

It is unclear how this lawsuit will resolve, but it is an interesting example of the responsibility casinos owe to their patrons. Although Las Vegas has a reputation for “anything goes,” the truth is that casinos do have a legal responsibility to act in a reasonable manner when their customers are intoxicated and at risk. When someone has become visibly drunk, casinos are expected to stop serving them drinks, and continuing to serve them can be an act of negligence.

No Dram Shop Laws in Nevada

Although casinos have a responsibility to act responsibly for the safety of their patrons, it is important to realize that there are no dram shop laws in Nevada. Dram shop laws hold establishments responsible if they allow a customer to become excessively drunk and then that customer causes harm to a third party. The most common example of a dram shop case is suing a bar after one of its customers hits you in a drunk driving accident. In Nevada, the establishments are not liable for an intoxicated person’s actions against a third party, so you would not be able to sue the bar. In an accident case, you would only be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver himself.

If you have recently been harmed by a casino’s negligence, or if you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. Our attorneys can help you with your personal injury case and make sure you get compensation for your injuries and damages.

Bighorn Staff

About Bighorn Staff