Sam A. Antar from New York City is suing BetMGM, Borgata Online, and their owners, MGM Resorts International and Entain. He claims that they exploited his gambling addiction, which led to him losing $30 million. Antar says he lost the large sum in nine months between May 2019 and Jan. 2020.
The plaintiff initially filed a lawsuit in 2022. He claimed that “technical glitches” were to blame and that the defendants paid him “hush money” to not report them to New Jersey authorities. However, in a shift of strategy, Antar amended his lawsuit to say the defendants knew he had a gambling addiction but kept offering him bonuses or other incentives to feed his addiction.
MGM Resorts International – which is a joint owner of BetMGM along with Entain, as well as BetMGM’s sister brand Borgata Casino – denies any wrongdoing and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Background on the Story and Sam A. Antar
According to court filings, Sam A. Antar claims he has lost over $30 million playing B Online (Borgata Online Casino) and BetMGM Casino between May 2019 and January 2020. In his initial suit, filed in September 2022, Antar claimed he was repeatedly disconnected while gambling online and was offered payments to keep him from reporting the malfunctions to gambling regulators in New Jersey.
The plaintiff, who identified himself as a compulsive gambler, alleged that the defendants were aware of his condition. The lawsuit accused the defendants of fraud, racketeering, and other misconduct. Antar claimed that he experienced numerous disconnections from the online platforms. He further claimed that these disconnections were often at crucial moments when he had a winning hand, which then voided his potential win.
According to his lawyer, Antar had a disconnection rate of almost 50% during the nine months covered by the lawsuit. He suffered significant financial losses, amounting to “easily hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Antar’s Been in Prison Twice for Defrauding Investors
Antar is a convicted felon who has served prison time twice. In 2013, he was sentenced to 21 months – convicted of taking $225,000 from an investor. Instead of purchasing appliances and reselling them for a profit, Antar allegedly used the money to gamble and buy stocks.
Then in December 2019, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Antar for defrauding investors of $550,000. He had promised them to invest in new companies that were not yet public. But the SEC alleged that he once again gambled and used the money on things like his daughter’s wedding and gifts to family members. In December 2022, Antar was sentenced to three years in prison but was released on probation in March 2023.
Connection to ‘Crazy Eddie’
Sam A. Antar is the nephew of Eddie “Crazy Eddie” Antar. The uncle owned the Crazy Eddie appliance store chain in the Tri-State Area during the ’70s and ’80s. He was widely known for his memorable commercials and for allegedly defrauding investors of tens of millions of dollars. Eddie fled to Israel to escape prison but was later caught and served time.
Eddie’s brothers were also allegedly part of the scheme. Sam A. Antar’s father, also named Sam, was Eddie’s cousin and the chief financial officer of the company. The elder Sam received immunity for his testimony against his cousin.
Antar Suing BetMGM and Others, Saying He Was Exploited
After getting out on probation on March 28, 2023, Antar changed his strategy. He decided to amend his lawsuit and claim the defendants were knowingly preying on his gambling addiction. He claims that despite an ongoing lawsuit, he started receiving promotional emails two days after he got out.
The plaintiff’s lawyers argue that MGM took advantage of their client’s gambling issues by enticing him to place more bets. They claim the defendants accomplished this through gifts, dedicated hosts, and granting him Noir status in the MGM Rewards program. The Noir status is the highest level in the loyalty program and is invitation-only. The lawsuit explicitly names Quinton Hogan and Jerry Liang as the VIP account managers who served Antar. The plaintiff alleges that both employees were trained to identify patterns of problematic gambling behavior.
According to the complaint, the defendants were aware of the plaintiff’s gambling addiction based on the substantial amount of money he wagered with them from May 2019 to January 2020. The complaint claims that Antar has over 1,800 text messages between him and the defendant’s representatives enticing him to gamble more.
Defendants Respond by Denying Any Wrongdoings
MGM stated that it did not engage in any wrongdoing regarding its interactions with Antar. MGM has requested that a federal judge dismiss Antar’s lawsuit and refer the case to arbitration. The company argues that arbitration was part of the terms of service that Antar agreed to when opening an online account. MGM also denies any violations of New Jersey laws.