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Indiana Supreme Court Continues to Discuss Tom Donovan Case

A blackjack gamer banned from playing at the Grand Victoria Casino in 2006 for using card counting has been arguing unfair treatment before the Supreme Court of the state of Indiana on April 14th, 2010.

Tom Donovan is a former computer programmer who learned to count cards via an online blackjack class and subsequently was able to win $65,000 playing blackjack over a seven year period. But Donovan's winning streak did not go unnoticed by the Grand Victoria Casino, which is located on the Ohio River at the Rising Sun.

Casino officials decided to ban him from playing at their blackjack table, with a court in Marion County approving the casino's decision. However, after the Indiana state appeals court later decided in favor of Tom Donovan, the Grand Victoria Casino asked for the issue to be referred to the high court, where it is currently being discussed.

Any decision reached by the Supreme Court will likely have serious repercussion for them northwest Indiana casino industry, who face having to treat players using card counting the same as their other players.

So far, the casino has been arguing before the Supreme Court that common law permits them to refuse any individuals entrance to their facility, as long as it is not for a "bad reason". But Tom Donovan's lawyer, Marc Sedwick said that gambling is a "statutory creature" that did not exist during common law times.

Early signs that the Supreme Court does not see the issue quite common either, with Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. stating that: "Your casino facility could only feature games where nothing but pure luck matters, like slot machines and dice games, but you also offer casino games where skill can be a significant factor like blackjack, in an effort to attract players who think that they have the skill to do well".

Justice Sullivan Jr. added that "But once you see a customer that has the skill to win, you will immediately stop the player and say that they cannot play".

Although the Supreme Court can release a decision at any time, a final decision is likely to be reached in a few months. In the meantime, the casino facilities will have to face an unpleasant situation of seeing their profits affected by card counting players.


Tuesday, May 04 , 2010
Victor Sanchez