Borgata Refunding Entrance Fees From Poker Tourney Tainted by Fake Chips
Following a three month investigation, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued an order on April 14th indicating that $1.7 million in prize money should be refunded to nearly half of the individuals that participated in a January poker tournament.
Tournament participants were required to pay a $560 entrance fee – $60 of which went to the house and $500 which went to the overall prize pool. However, the tournament was halted shortly after it began when the casino discovered that hundreds of fake chips had been placed into play. Poker Pro Christian Lusardi was later charged with numerous criminal offences related to introducing those fake chips. The state’s investigation revealed that as many as 2,143 entrants “may have been impacted by the counterfeit chips”; these individuals will be refunded the entire $560 amount within 10 business days. It was also determined that the 2,000+ other entrants had no contact with the fake chips and will therefore receive no refund. Some individuals may be eligible for larger refunds based on their rank during the contest at the time it was halted.
The investigation also cleared the Borgata of any wrongdoing, stating that the casino properly monitored the tournament and did nothing wrong. This statement should come in handy when the casino defends itself against the class-action lawsuit that was filed over the incident back in February.
In response to the fake chips fiasco, the Borgata has begun using new high-tech gambling chips that can be specially identified using ultraviolet light. Further, though the Borgata was not officially required to return its tournament revenues, the casino volunteered to refund the participants $60 dollar entrance fee. Borgata Senior Vice President stated, “As the premiere poker facility we are very unhappy about the inconvenience this caused so many of our local customers . . . . It was only right to give back the revenue Borgata would have seen.” The prize money pool – roughly $1.4 million – was ordered frozen by state regulators until it could be re-distributed to tournament participants.