Class action lawsuit alleges MGM ‘robbed’ customers pennies at a time

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A class action lawsuit filed against MGM Resorts International on Wednesday accuses casinos of keeping the change — failing to pay cashout tickets in full — and thus breaking their contract with customers.

The lawsuit says MGM is “essentially robbing their customers a few cents at a time, on millions of transactions.”

It started during the COVID-19 pandemic, with casinos reducing “touch” transactions by issuing tickets for all amounts under a dollar. If your ticket is for $4.37, you get four dollar bills and a new ticket for the amount of 37 cents. It’s a practice used at all casinos, not just MGM properties.

In the case of plaintiff Leane Scherer, who gambled at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, it was a “TRU Ticket” for $18.19. That 19 cents has the potential to be very costly for the casino giant.

Gamblers play slot machines at the grand opening of the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino Aug. 29, 2006, in Biloxi, Mississippi. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Mississippi, alleges the practice is making big money for the casino companies. People who don’t want to stand in line again at the casino cage typically keep the ticket and find out later it expires after 30 days. There’s full disclosure in fine print, the lawsuit acknowledges.

The lawsuit seeks damages for Scherer “and on behalf of all others similarly situated.”

8 News Now has reached out to MGM for comment, and we expect to update this report when comments are received. We have also reached out to private attorneys and casino experts for comment.

Nevada law specifies that casino tickets expire 180 days after they are issued, and the state claims 75% of the unclaimed value, with the remaining 25% going to the casino.

That unclaimed “change” added up to more than $16.5 million for Nevada at the end of the fiscal year in 2022, according to a recent report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Among the causes of action outlined in the lawsuit:

  • breach of contract — customers exchange cash for credits, and should be entitled to the same exchange from the casino
  • Conversions — customers are “damaged” in the unequal conversion of credits to cash
  • unjust enrichment keeping the change violates “good conscience and justice”
  • Quantum merit — “… Defendant is liable under a theory of quantum meruit. Valuable materials (funds) were rendered; to Defendant; they were accepted, used, and enjoyed by Defendant; and Defendant was reasonably notified that Plaintiffs expected to be paid.”

The lawsuit, Scherer v. MGM Resorts International, names MGM, which is incorporated in Delaware, and lists the properties Aria, Bellagio, Delano Las Vegas, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand Las Vegas, New York, New York, Nomad, Park MGM, Mirage, Vdara, Gold Strike MGM Grand Detroit, MGM National Harbor, MGM Springfield and Borgata.

The law firm Sternberg, Naccari & White is listed as the representative for the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also cites an option that some “cashout” transactions offer — to donate the change to a nonprofit controlled by MGM. “This has the same eventual effect of depriving the player of her change,” according to the lawsuit.

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