Suing for Blackjack Losses

Normally I’m on the players’ side when it comes to issues between casinos and blackjack players. However, when I read this, there was no way I could side with the players.

Attorney Michael Trentalange is suing on behalf of two of his clients for losses at Seminole casinos–$15,000 in losses.

Trentalange believes the Seminoles to be in violation of state law because of their blackjack tables. The Seminole compact with Governor Charlie Crist was ruled to be invalid by the Florida Supreme Court. But the Department of Interior, which has say on Indian gambling, has said that the compact is legal. So the Seminoles say that they’re operating legally and that their blackjack tables are fine.

Naturally Trentalange is going with the story that the compact isn’t legal and that the Seminoles having blackjack is a violation of law. He’s found a statute that allows gamblers and their families to sure to recover gambling losses if the gambling was in violation of the law.

So Trentalange is saying that because the Seminole compact isn’t legal neither are the blackjack tables. And since his clients lost their $15,000 playing blackjack at a Seminole casino and the gambling was illegal due to an invalid compact, his clients can sue.

My thoughts: 1. Trentalange, if he wins, which I’m going to be he won’t, he’ll make a nice chunk of that $15,000, 2. I’m going to bet his clients weren’t using basic strategy if they lost $15,000, 3. If you’re going to gamble you go in to it knowing that you’re probably going to lose money—stop being a sissy about it, suck up the fact that you lost and move on.

But Trentalange isn’t even taking on the Seminoles! Even though he says that they’re the ones in the wrong because their blackjack tables are illegal, he’s suing Clear Channel Outdoor for their billboards promoting blackjack at the Seminole casinos, Bally Technology for tracking players’ wins and losses, and Chipco International for making the playing chips.

That’s the part that makes me laugh. Trentalange isn’t even suing the Seminole whose blackjack tables, according to him, are illegal. The Seminoles would have been the ones to collect on the players’ losses so logically you would think that Trentalange would go after the Seminoles to get his clients’ illegally obtained losses back.

Oh, no! He goes after an advertising firm for advertising what they were paid to advertise (I do believe that the point of an advertising firm is to advertise what their customers pay to have advertised); a tracking company for tracking players’ wins and losses just like in every casino, including the legal ones; and a chip company because their chips were used in these blackjack games.

It’s hilarious! This lawyer is suing everyone around the Seminoles that didn’t take his clients’ money rather than attempt to go after the Seminoles. And the reason he’s not suing the Seminoles is because he knows he can’t call their blackjack table illegal, sue them and win. He knows it.

It’s laughable that this lawyer is trying to get his clients’ money back from places it didn’t go; and it’s laughable that these clients are having a hissy fit because they gambled and lost. It’s blackjack! It’s gambling! You are going to lose some money—especially if you play without a strategy.

To: The State of Florida, From: Blackjack Fans

This has been going on for awhile now. In the state of Florida the Seminole Tribe and state law makers are still in a stalemate about whether the Tribe should be allowed to have table games, including blackjack, in all seven of their casinos. I started following this closely. And then a little less closely. And a little less closely. Then it was just a part of my routine. The same things were being said over and over again.

Let me sum it up: In 2007 Florida Governor Charlie Crist stuck a compact with the Seminoles that allowed them to have table games. State law makers weren’t happy with Tribe casinos having what they viewed as a monopoly on table games within the state. Now, two years later, they’re still fighting over it. Like a tennis match. Back and forth. Specifically House Speaker Larry Cretul says that the governor had no such power to make such a deal with the Tribe. The Tribe says that the Supreme Court okay’s the compact and that they are operating within it. Florida says no, and the Seminoles say yes.

This morning I came across a news notice that Cretul wants the Tribe casinos shut down, saying that they are violating state law by continuing to operate without a compact. Again, the Tribe says that they are still operating within the 2007 compact. But what got me was here is this man, this House Speaker, that wants to cut off a source of much needed income for the state of Florida, money that can fund schools, money that can help to educate the state’s children.

He’s not alone either. Owners of dog racing tracks don’t want the Tribe operating either. They’re worried about losing business to the casinos because the Seminole casinos will have popular table games like blackjack and their race tracks won’t. What these dog track owners need to realize that while they might lose their customers that are at the tracks specifically to gamble, they will hold onto their fans who love to watch dogs run around a track. It seems like tracks owners don’t want to worry about competition. It’s almost like they want to be the only ones to offer gambling—which would give tracks the monopoly on gambling in Florida—this coming from track owners who believe that monopolies are bad.

Dog tracks are not Wal-Marts—they are not going to be able to offer every form of gambling avenue possible to gambling and blackjack fans. They can keep their dog races, which have their own following, and the Seminoles can have their table games like blackjack, which have a different following.

What everyone—Seminoles included—is that this state needs the money. Schools are suffering: teachers are being laid off, books are becoming out-dated, and schools are closing. Children are not receiving the knowledge they need to be productive members of society in a few years time. What these law makers, track owners and, yes, even the Seminoles need to be concerned about is the state’s children and their education, and not worry about how can line their pockets more.

I’m all for heading out to a casino and playing blackjack face to face with a dealer—sometimes you just need a break from online blackjack. But really what’s more important—profit or smarts? I’ll go with smarts, thanks. And while money for education comes from multiple sources, the Seminoles are willing to pay a couple million down to have the games and to keep contributing a good chunk of their profits from blackjack and other table games—and they designate that money to be put towards education. But the children’s interests first, guys and ladies.

I say if they’re willing to pay, let the Seminoles pay. Who are the state and track owners to say what is best for Florida gamblers? If we want to play, let us play. If the money I lose is going towards a teacher’s salary, show me to the blackjack tables! Let us play!