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BetMGM Heads To Michigan Supreme Court Over Online Casino Lawsuit

A lawsuit against BetMGM from an online casino customer will head to the Michigan Supreme Court. Hanging in the balances is a $3.2M payout.

Michigan Hall Of Justice, Supreme Court
Photo by AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
J.R. Duren Avatar
4 mins read

There are two sides to every story, but not every story has more than $3 million on the line.

That’s what’s at stake at some point in the future when a lawsuit against BetMGM (NYSE: MGM) from an online casino customer will head to the Michigan Supreme Court. Hanging in the balance is a $3.2 million payout and an official state position on what happens when an online casino allegedly sends an erroneous payment to a customer.

Key takeaways

  • A Michigan woman claimed that, in 2021, BetMGM refused to give her more than $3 million in winnings.
  • BetMGM claims a glitch credited the woman’s account with bigger payouts than she was supposed to get.
  • After failed attempts in Michigan courts, the Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
  • BetMGM’s Michigan online casino is the flagship iGaming casino in the state.

How BetMGM found itself battling a lawsuit

In June 2021, Michigan news outlets broke a story about a woman named Jacqueline Davis who claimed that BetMGM owed her more than $3 million.

How?

Davis said she started playing a game called “Luck O’ the Roulette” on March 18, according to court documents obtained by PlayMichigan. She bet $4.50 on her first play and lost. By the end of the day, she was betting $150 per play because, according to Davis, she had won more than $20,000.

It was likely that Davis felt like she was living a dream. For five of the next six days, she played and won. Here’s what her account balances were at the end of each of those five days, according to court records:

  • March 18: $20,077.74
  • March 19: $64,286.16
  • March 20: No bets placed
  • March 21: $488.498.24
  • March 22: $2,527,300.82
  • March 23: $3,289,500.75

What happened next has led to multiple court cases and a forthcoming hearing before the state Supreme Court.

On March 21, Davis requested a withdrawal of $100,000. The next day, she got an email from BetMGM Casino congratulating her on her big win, according to court documents.

BetMGM approved the $100,000, so Davis went to MGM Grand Casino in Detroit to get her cash. After the withdrawal, however, BetMGM suspended her account.

Davis alleges that, in the days following, a BetMGM rep told her “she was not supposed to win,” according to court documents. Davis said BetMGm offered her an additional $23,000 or $75,000 in BetMGM credits.

But that offer came with a catch. Davis had to agree not to speak of the glitch to anyone. Davis refused the offer.

In the following weeks, BetMGM said it mistakenly multiplied Davis’ winnings before depositing them into her account. For example, this glitch could’ve resulted in a $100 win being credited as a $1,000 win. But, BetMGM said, the glitch affected some of Davis’ balance, but not all of it.

Court documents indicate the glitch affected 2.5% of Davis’ plays, but did not indicate the dollar amount that resulted from the glitch.

In short, Davis is seeking her remaining $3,188,616.42 plus attorney fees.

What’s next for lawsuit and could it impact online casino players?

Because MGM’s lawsuit is an ongoing legal matter, the company hasn’t offered much insight. BetMGM did not respond to a request for comment on the case by PlayUSA.

That being said, the law has been on BetMGM’s side since Davis filed her lawsuit in 2021. The Wayne County Circuit Court dismissed her case. Davis appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeal, which upheld the lower court’s ruling by a 2-1 decision.

Simply put, BetMGM argued it isn’t bound by its user agreement, Davis’ attorneys, David S. Steingold and Samantha Baker, told PlayUSA, and that Davis should take her complaint to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. However, the attorney general’s office sent letters to the court explaining that the MGCB tends to deal with regulatory violations instead of disputes between casinos and customers. The courts sided with BetMGM. 

However, the one judge who sided with Davis made a strong argument, and it was with that argument Davis could appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, Steingold and Baker said. The attorneys went on to say that, should the Supreme Court uphold the Court of Appeals’ decision, casino customers will be on their own if they find themselves in Davis’ position:

“Quite simply, if the Court of Appeals decision is affirmed, anyone aggrieved by a casino, whether it be by fraud or an intentional tort, will have absolutely no remedy. As stated by the dissenting Judge in the Court of Appeals Opinion, it would give new meaning to the old gambling adage that ‘the house always wins.’ ”

What we’re likely to see over the next few weeks is the submission of “amicus” briefs, which are essentially letters to the courts from experts offering additional insight into the case. These briefs are due by July 24, Steingold and Baker said.

As for Davis, the attorneys said she is doing fine. 

“She is very happy that the Supreme Court has decided to review the case and she, as well as my office, feel very confident that we are going to prevail,” Steingold and Baker said.

BetMGM biggest all-time online casino in Michigan

The Michigan Supreme Court decision likely won’t have a big effect on MGM’s Michigan online casino revenue. MGM Grand Detroit’s online casino has generated more than $1.7 billion since it launched in early 2021.

Over the past few months, the online casino has battled with Motor City Casino for the most monthly gross revenue in the state. In April and March, Motor City won out, but in February and January, BetMGM had the lead.

J.R. Duren Avatar
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J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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