A lawsuit against BetMGM has been filed by a New York man who alleges the gaming operator offered him thousands of dollars in free bets to refrain from reporting game glitches to betting regulators.
In a lawsuit filed in the New Jersey Superior Courton Wednesday, Sam A. Antar claims these free bets only made his gambling addiction more severe. In the lawsuit, he describes himself as “a compulsive and vulnerable gambler.”
Charges filed in the lawsuit — naming BetMGM, MGM Resorts, Entain PLC and Borgata Casino in Atlantic City as defendants — include gross negligence, consumer fraud, racketeering and a handful of civil suits.
NY online casinos remain illegal, but there’s a chance that could change in 2023.
Details of lawsuit against BetMGM
Antar said that while playing BetMGM’s online casino games, he would lose connection to the website’s servers. Then when he logged back in, his account balance would be wiped.
According to the lawsuit, the server disconnection would consistently happen when he had a favorable hand. Antar claims the only way he was able to recover the lost funds was by depositing more cash into his BetMGM account.
This led to Antar gambling over $29 million in just nine months.
Antar alleges he spoke with multiple officials from BetMGM about the server issues. But they would just load his account with free bets to compensate for his losses. Customers cannot withdraw free bonuses as real cash. They can only be used to wager more.
How BetMGM leveraged the server disconnections
The lawsuit says that a BetMGM account manager told Antar that he wasn’t the only one complaining about the issue.
Antar said he would experience server disconnections every 15 to 30 minutes, and it happened thousands of times from May 2019 to Jan. 2020. During that period, he claims to have made over 100,000 online wagers.
According to the lawsuit, BetMGM turned a blind eye to the issue because of how much money the games were making the company. Instead, Antar received free bets that at one point amounted to over $30,000 per month.
Antar made dozens of complaints to various BetMGM officials, but they allegedly took no action to correct the problem. Antar recorded a conversation with a BetMGM manager who said the gambling operator wouldn’t take the game offline because it was a “moneymaker.”
Saved communications with BetMGM set for evidence
The lawsuit states Antar saved text messages, recorded phone calls, screenshots and other pieces of evidence to support his claims. One text from a BetMGM VIP account manager asked Antar not to contact the “DGE,” in reference to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state’s regulating body for gambling. In exchange for keeping the glitch a secret, Antar began receiving daily free bets from BetMGM.
In July 2019, the lawsuit alleges, that Antar received this text response from a manager after complaining about the gaming glitches:
“Hey Sam, we have to come up with a good plan. Let’s do a 5K deposit match per week?”
In Jan. 2020, Antar said he was banned from gaming both in person and online with BetMGM. But eight months later, he received an email about the operator reactivating his online account.
Antar has a history of fraudulent investment schemes
In 2019, Antar pleaded guilty to charges related to defrauding his friends and family of about $794,000 in connection to an investment scheme. New Jersey prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission claim Antar used this money to gamble.
Authorities charged Antar with second-degree theft by deception in the New Jersey Superior Court.
In 2013, Antar served 21 months in prison after taking a portion of a $225,000 phony investment scheme and using the money to gamble.
Antar’s uncle, Eddie Antar, is the infamous founder of Crazy Eddie Electronics. Crazy Eddie’s commercials were wildly popular in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. Some may also know Eddie for defrauding investors out of over $74 million.