Man loses $500,000 in Vegas, sues casino

I’ve never been to the Super Bowl. But I can imagine, if I ever do get the chance to go, I’d spend a lot of money on drinks, souvenirs, and fan experiences. I might even get a little drunk. Or a lot, to be honest. After all, when you’re in the moment, you let loose.

Mark Johnston didn’t go to the Super Bowl this year either, but that didn’t stop him from spending a lot of money over the weekend. Or drinking his face off. And when the two mix, that’s bad news.

How much did he spend? About $500,000. And he spent it while completely plastered.


The retired businessman is suing the Downtown Grand for loaning him the cash and letting him play his favorite games while completely off his liquid rocker, proverbially speaking. According to the lawsuit he filed, Johnston drank at the airport and on the way to the hotel. He also enjoyed some drinks at the casino. That’s all he remembers.

He doesn’t remember taking out a half-million-dollar loan with the hotel he was staying at in Vegas. And he doesn’t remember losing that $500,000 playing Blackjack, Pai Gow, and other casino games.

During an 11-hour period, he took out four lines of credit. And he drank a lot. Way more than any normal person can take in. That, according to the lawsuit, caused him to make poor decisions – like borrow $500,000 on credit.

The Downtown Grand is actually counter-suing Johnston for trying to walk away from paying his debt. It should be noted that Johnston isn’t poor. He’s a pretty big Vegas high roller who wagers a lot at various casinos in Sin City. Johnston is concerned that the casino is ruining his good name by alleging that he refuses to pay his debts.


We think there might be something to Johnston’s case. If he’s a high roller, he’s probably used to winning a lot and losing his fair share. But because he lacked control – at the fault of the casino, no less – he doesn’t feel responsible for his losses.

According to Nevada law, casinos aren’t allowed to let visibly drunk players play casino games. Nor are they allowed to serve them alcohol. It’s pretty clear that both things happened.

If there’s a lesson in all of this, it’s that you should never gamble away more than you can afford. Nor should you gamble drunk. That’s why online casinos are way safer. You’re responsible for your own alcohol – and it isn’t free so there’s less risk of drinking your face off. And there’s no such thing is gambling on credit. Yes, you can pay with your credit card, but you can’t buy more chips than what your limit is.

As more and more stories like this pop up, it’s fair to say that online casinos are proving to be the safe place to gamble. Wherever you play, do so responsibly.

Erik Blackwell

Erik Blackwell is a 'bon vivant' with a problematic addiction to comics and fondue. Went to MIT but finally left to pursue acting. He currently lives in sunny California with an American Stafford-shire Terrier and an American Bulldog that somehow managed to get along. He's dabbled in acting but doesn't like the spotlight. Loves to play casino online.