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The Almighty Buck

Net Gambler Sues Credit Card Company 280

DR writes "A man is suing American Express and Discover because they helped him lose $25K in on-line casinos." Ok, I gotta ask, who would bet $25k in online gambling? Over COMDEX I was freaked out when I was down eleven bucks!
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Net Gambler Sues Credit Card Company

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  • A: A sue-happy freak, if not a lawyer himself, who planned ahead of time to sue if he lost big bucks. (So if he wins, he wins. If he loses, he doesn't lose.)

    These people make me sick, as do the juries who fall for this BS.


  • by Haven ( 34895 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:07AM (#1475484) Homepage Journal
    I was once a millionaire. Now I have merely pennies. This is becuase the US treasury didn't put a warning label on US currency that states that I cannot have my money back after I spent it. They were just taking advantage of the little guy.
  • doesn't anybody take responsibility for anything they do anymore.
    If this goes through, I'm suing VISA in January for them 'enableing' me to run up large bills for Christmas gifts !

  • by Cigs ( 115253 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:08AM (#1475486)
    ....I am suing:

    McDonalds for making me fat.

    Budweiser for making me drunk.

    My parents for making me ugly.

    The cast of Friends for making me wish I was skinny, sober and beautiful.

    On a scale of one to ten how stupid is this guy? When will these people grow up and learn that not everything is someone elses fault?

  • Yeah.....I'm gonna sue Id and Valve over lost work hours. Stupid deathmatch......
    "You should never have your best trousers on when you turn
  • by frobnoid ( 64717 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:08AM (#1475488)
    A woman in california took the same tactic with her visa bill with an online casino. and WON.
    Many thousands of dollars of gambled away credit card debt was forgiven.
  • Just what does this say about the attitude of people these days?
    • "
    • It's not my fault! They should have protected me from those mean evil nasty people who are out to defraud me! You should have seen it coming!"
    I think I've seen this before, and I'm personally sick of people that can't take responsibility for their actions.

    Sheesh. What's the world coming to?

  • What a moron. He was the one who was gambling. He asked for the credit, it was extended. If he realizes it is a bad thing for credit card companies to extend credit for gambling, he shouldn't sue them. He was the one that made the choice to use his credit cards. He could start a movement to stop credit card companies from allowing gambling establishments to accept their cards, or get his congressman to introduce a bill to ban teh practice. But suing the credit card companies is simply avoiding his own responsibility in this. He was wrong, not the credit people.
  • You know, it's becoming really tedious to here about these people who can't take personal responsibility for their actions. Whenever someone does something stupid these days, they're looking for someone else to sue. It's like the person who keeps calling the computer helpdesk with the same dumb problem every day - the first few times it's funny, then it becomes wearisome, and finally you reach the desensitised stage where you don't care anymore. The real pity is that more of these obviously dumb lawsuits didn't get thrown out earlier, which might have discouraged every man and his dog from jumping on the bandwagon.

    I think it's getting to the point where dumb lawsuits (net-related or not) aren't really newsworthy for slashdot.

  • by friedo ( 112163 )
    I love a country where no one thinks about taking responsibility for their own stupidity. Owwww...I spilled coffee on my lap! I didn't know it's that hot! Jesus.

  • The statement said the Internet casinos pay the credit card companies
    and their affiliated banks a fee, usually between 2 and 5 percent for each
    online gambling transaction.

    Isn't that the way it works with every credit card transaction, gambling or other? What's the point of that statement? Hey, I should sue them because I paid too much for something lately, and they are definitely responsible. After all, they have an interest in high prices, because they get a percentage in fees!
  • Can you believe it? Some idiot loses all his money and tries to blame it on the credit card company - what a loser. Next he'll try to sue his ISP for allowing him to access the gambling site in the first place?!

    The thing that bugs me is that at the end of the day, this guys lawyer is going to make money trying this case. What a waste of time and effort when there are other things people could spend their time doing.
  • When will it end?

    Hey slashdot- when do you think that you will be sued because somebody's spending too much time reading the site and the wasted time was out of their control?

    I mean, you people are costing corporate america BILLIONS of dollars in wasted hours. I think that a class action suit is in order: Microsoft et al. v. I mean, how are they supposed to prevent themselves from reading such juicy content?

    Gosh, you guys are a menace.
  • A: A sue-happy freak, if not a lawyer himself, who planned ahead of time to sue if he lost big bucks. (So if he wins, he wins. If he loses, he doesn't lose.)

    And the point? Dont' people have to work for a living anymore?

    These people make me sick, as do the juries who fall for this BS.

    Personally I for one am not sympathetic to anyone who has 25 grand to waste on gambling. Obviously this wasn't some working class man trying to earn money for his family so I could care less.
  • It that crap like this keeps us responsible folk from exploring something, understanding the risk involved. Online gambling, sports book could have been cool without me having to drive a few hours to get to Nevada.

    I'm hoping the judge tosses this one. Otherwise, stupidity wins a court case again.
  • Oh come on, now that's a good one. And it seems that according to American Express they prohibit that sort of revenue from merchants. Now I don't know about Discover card. This guys wife probably divorced him over this stuff and he figures he will try and get her back by suing and getting more than he lost or something. Just another example of people trying to get over on the American Legal System.
    And as far as losing $25k, He must have been using a pretty high stakes place because most online casinos that I have seen don't let you bet like 1000 at a time or something. Anyway stupidity is always painful whether it's to the self or the pocketbook.
  • I would swear on a stack of K&R 1st editions this high that we've seen virtually this exact story on /. before, except it was a woman in California. What happened to that lawsuit?

    Aha! Found's here []. $25k, nothing...this earlier one was $70k.

  • The plaintiff, though admittedly probably not an upstanding citizen, actually may have valid legal grounds. In the article, it states that the companies dissalow merchants from accepting CC payments for gambling from customers living in states where it is outlawed. SO, had they enforced these policies, he wouldn't have lost the money. Sounds like a solid negligence case to me.
  • I bet when this guy stands up to present his case, the courtroom will break out in giggles. I'll be mighty surprised if the judge doesn't toss the case out on its ear.
  • by DanaL ( 66515 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:13AM (#1475505)
    Given the latest JonKatz article, once the HGP is done, should we try to eliminate the genes for gambling and let stupid people try to come up with other reasons to sue people, or should we try to eliminate the genes for stupid people and let smart people only gamble online.

    Clearly something needs to be done!

    (One last's a good thing this guy wasn't gambling with his laptop in a Starbucks bathroom while drinking McDonald's coffee...he could be suing everybody!)

  • Also, how was the credit card company to know he was going to gamble it?? If it were me, I would just ring the company and say "I'd like a credit extension please". They would then say yes or no. Once you get credit, it's yours to do with as you will. Anything else is just sour grapes.

    We have names for people like this in England. "Apeth". (Yorkshire) "Twat". (Midlands)
  • I agree with the guy. Now I am anti-stupid as much as the next Slashdot reader, but he as a point. Online Casinos give a percent of customer gambling to the credit card companies. Of course, that is how credit card companies make their money, but this should not be done with CC's and gambling. Although it sounds like he lacked alittle discipline it also sounds like the credit companies seem to encourage this activity.
    One another point who in the hell spends money at online casino!?!? I mean, if I am not tanked off free booze by the time I am behind $10, I know it is time to quit (Ya, I am cheap!)
  • I don't know about other nationalities but we Americans (not all but a majority) for some reason can not take responsibility for our own actions. People always have to pointing the finger at some else screaming "It is not my fault". This has been a problem for so long that it has infested every institution in our country. This has also lead to the solving of problems by tackling the symptoms instead of the cause. Which eventually leads to the corruption of freedom and the disappearance of self-autonomy. The incident in Colorado earlier this year is one example, the war on drugs is another example. This society displays over and over again that it can not take responsibility for it's own actions but some one has to... With freedom comes responsibility society can not have one without the other.
  • Why is it that American society seems to promote these levels of irresponsibility? If this gentleman truly believed that these merchent accounts granted to the casinos were wrong, he should have simply started lobbying to make them illegal, that or pre-stated his purpose to lose a set amount of money then sue over it to make it an issue.

    When somebody states that the companies are aiding illegal gambling, after attempting to gamble, without a pre-declared purpose, they have no credibility. It's fairly transparant that this man is a con artist who lost $25k and is now gambling that he'll make far more than that in a lawsuit.

    I hope that the credit card companies fight him hard and don't settle with him. He is abusing the legal system.
  • A story a while back on TheRegister [] already covers this exact problem.

    Check it out, its kind of sad, but she actually beat the credit card company and was allowed to dodge the $70k bill she ran up. Her excuse was that she should not have been allowed to run up the bill because gambling is not allowed in her home state.

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 )
    There's a very simple legal recourse to this - we simply do something called a "counter-suit" for bringing a "frivolous action". ie: You pay legal costs for bringing this into court. This guy's gonna be out alot more than $25k because of his stupidity.

    What's really sad is that people have the expectation that this government should protect people from their own stupidity. It's not entirely bad, either.. but in a pure capitalist society the government won't be holding your hand at all. The US hasn't made up it's mind here, so the question is "it depends". So I guess there's plenty of blame to pass around for stupid lawsuits like this - the legislators for not taking a firm stand, the stupid idiot that blew $25k on his "habit" and tried to pass the blame on, and the company for not having policies to prevent this. Ultimately the blame rests on this guy - he has a problem, he knew it, he didn't seek help. You can't sue the hospital for not telling you you're bleeding to death.

  • Is it just me or are the stupid people taking over the world ? Everyday you hear about yet another stupid law suit. I think NASA should come up a with a laser satalite that can kill stupid people from orbit. Now that will be money well spent.
  • by mwittenstein ( 120813 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:16AM (#1475513)
    She didn't technically win, Rather, the credit card company settled. That may amount to the same thing as far as she was concerned, but legally there is still no precedent. This suite could go either way.
  • Ok so this guy loses 25k gambling. First rule of gambling: Never bet over your head.

    If you can only afford to lose 10 bucks..then take ten bucks w/ you to the casino. DUH!

    But it just seems like another case of pointing the finger to say that 'Look! It's not my fault that (insert affliction here)! (Insert Cause which is allegedly related)help/conditioned me to do this! It's not my fault!'

    Come on kids.... face the music and take responsiblity for your own actions. No one held a gun to your head to bet 25k. YOu did it. YOu can't tell me that it never once passed in this guys mind that he might not be able to afford it.

  • it doesn't even need to be said. We live in a potentially dangerous world. You have to pay attention,and not do something stupid to stay alive.

    Sure, I could walk out into traffic and sue whoever mows me down - or cut myself with a steak knife, and sue because it was too sharp.... Evolution works for a reason, it is to thin out the weak and stupid out of the herd.

  • (So if he wins, he wins. If he loses, he doesn't lose.)

    Well if this is his plan he is still an idiot. Read my lips: NOBODY WINS IN CASINO GAMBLING.

    People gamble for the same reason that others are shopaholics: they like loosing money. Nobody wins.

    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • Dear US Citizen,

    It has been brought to my attention that your 3rd grade teacher didn't give you basic training on the proper use of money. I am sorry, but we are unable to process a refund for you at this time. Please contact your 3rd grade teacher for assistance in dealing with this problem.


    The US Treasury

  • Then why say it twice?

    Darwin where are you now?

    Do you think Darwin actually does the selection? Is this some religion I haven't seen yet, where people worship Darwin and call him forth to rub out the weak, the out-of-touch and the annoying?

    I'd have to say that's pretty tempting. Sign me up.
  • I don't remember Darwin as some Victorian Terminator ;))

    (Charlie fetchs BFG from back of horse-drawn carriage, adopts bad Austrian Arnie accent)
    "Okay yu ass-hol, if yor so fit den survive zis!"
    Heh, nice image. . .
  • From the article - "...arguing that the credit card companies encouraged his gambling"
    This sort of personal weakness makes me sick. "Oh, I didn't have a perfect childhood. That means I can fsck up my entire life, and it's not my fault".
    "I spilt hot coffee on my leg and it hurt. It's not my fault, I didn't expect coffee to be made with hot water"
    And I'm sure we've all seen the airline peanuts with instructions on how to eat them, as well as the safety warning "may contain nuts"
    It's a hard world out there, but too many people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions. This gambler is just trying it on, plain and simple. The thing that scares me the most is that he might get away with it... With the way that both the USA and the judicial system operate at the minute. (I'm not knocking Uncle Sam here - this legislative madness infects us all. Here in the UK we had massive payouts recently for female soldiers who got pregnant and were asked to leave the Army as a result. But they'd already signed contracts before joining saying they would leave the Army if they fell pregnant...)
    Oh yeah, BTW, the article mentions the Credit Card companies as taking about 5% of all transactions... They do that anyway, even if you're buying a tank of petrol or a takeaway pizza... Excellent, sensationalist reporting...
    There. That's better. (rantMode=0)
  • >Owwww...I spilled coffee on my lap! I didn't know it's that hot!

    I think that the case then (McDonalds) was that:
    a) they'd already been warned that the coffee was too hot more than once
    b) the woman got 3rd(?) degree burns, which you shouldn't get from coffee

    (b) gives you dangerous behaviour, (a) gives you negligence.
  • Did I get this right: Gambling is illegal where this guy lives? If so, they can sue back. Hey, the guy committed a crime, and should pay! (the funniest outcome would be that he got his $25k back, but had to pay $50k fines for gambling ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't think he's stupid, he just thinks this is an easy way out of his debts. I had a roomate a few years ago, who ran up a couple hundred in online gambling debts, he called the credit card company and explained that someone had stolen his CC and was doing this, and they canceled the charges....I left that school before this saga ended, but he was also planning on maxing out his credit cards, fleeing to Pakistan (where he's originally from) and saying...COME AND GET ME!
    With most cards, anything you purchase with the card is protected somewhat (extended warranties, and such). If this guy wins, we have a new "feature" to credit card purchase protection. If I do something illegal (buy drugs, buy sex, buy gas while kidnapping someone, etc.) I'm protected. The only problem could be that it might be difficult to find a drug-dealer who take credit cards. No problem! I simply go to an ATM, get a cash advance charged to the card, and the card company is responsible for everything I do with that cash.

    C'mon everyone. When you get a credit card, you sign a contract. You should read the contract. By signing you promise to pay your debts. Be an adult, keep you promises.
  • Well, lemme tell ya a secrect, CmdrTaco.. Last time I gambled and lost, i brought about ~$50, if memory serves, left atm + credit card + checkbook at home, plus had a car w/full tank of gas in the casino parking lot. So unless you sell the car, or bring credit cards, etc to casinos, you're safe. :)


    bash: ispell: command not found
  • Aaah, yet another story of someone suing someone else because they seem to be unable to accept responsibility for their own actions. This does seem to be the trend in America these days - anyone has something go wrong sues rather than admit that it was their fault, or even nobody's fault. And the saddest thing is that they seem to get away with it every time from what I've seen. Wasn't there a family who won over $300 million in compensation for having a slightly misleading contract that they didn't check properly and got charged $750 above what they had thought they would pay?

    Credit cards are not supposed to monitor everything you use them for, and if they did it would raise some serious privacy concerns. If you have a credit card, you're supposed to be responsible enough to use it sensibly. And lets face it, while it's easy enough to overspend on one, $25000? What kind of idiot spends that and then claims it wasn't their fault?

  • I'm gonna sue /. for sucking up my work hours with excellent news and cool stories.

    I'm gonna sue for making me lose productivity by reading their strip and laughing my butt off.

    I'm gonna sue my ISP for providing me with these wastes of time and *gasp* charging me for it...

    Um... what other stupid lawsuits can I think of??
  • If the president pushes the little red button and starts a nuclear war, do we place the blame on the button, or the one who pushed it?

    Honestly, if the person racks up $25,000 in gambling debt, he's got larger problems. He's basically suing the credit card company for his own idiocy. I'd like to see this guy lose and have to pay up the $25,000 smackers. I have no love for credit card companies, but it's everyone else who loses because of increased interest rates the companies (supposedly) use to cover their legal costs.

  • So US is free land, and thus anyone can sue anyone. So US isn't free land, because suing is game played by the rich, comparable to stock market in factual usability. So US isn't free land, because megacorps rule it. So US is free land because you can sue megacorps? No... you won't win them unless you have your own megacorp too. But hey, think positive, with all this stuff we got -material for jokes -fun /. stories -Ally McBeal
  • Even if this guy wins, do you think that the on line casinos will again ever let him play their games on credit?

    And would he be suing if he had won? Come on! Nobody forced this guy to play the games. If he is able to show in court that AE is at fault, it would open the door to even more frivilous suits, where Jane Doe sues Visa for helping her spend too much money on clothes at the local K-Mart.

    Mike Eckardt []
  • The really sad part is there is already precedence for him to win ...
  • Well, if you were at a real casino you could stop in to the offices and mortgage your house, cash in your boat, your car, whatever you wanted to.

    Why is it different online?

  • I never heard that story. I recall the McDonald's coffee. When I heard that story, I figured the lady never had a childhood where most people learn what HOT! means. I'm curious to know what someone hasn't learned in a bathroom.

    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
  • You all should by now that people can get addicted to a lot of things. Of all these things, gambling may be one of the worst since it provides a really way to lose all your money and more. This man is neither the first nor the last one to do that.

    Suing the credit company may be a lot of things, but it surely isn't stupid - he's trying to cut his losses. Of course, in an ideal world, he should face the consequences of his actions and take responsibility like a man and so on, all this crap - but hey, it's the promised land of ridiculous law suits.

  • You can't sue the hospital for not telling you you're bleeding to death.

    Especially not after that you have died.
  • That sounds like more a legal case rather than a civil case. At any rate even if it does fit the letter of the law, it is still a stupid law suit. If a person can't take responsibility for their own actions then they have no right wasting my oxygen, let alone legal recourse.
  • by humphrm ( 18130 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:27AM (#1475541) Homepage
    I was about to jump on the Litigious-Happy-Californians-Suck bandwagon, but that seems to be well covered here.

    In fact, what I see are two different issues: One, that credit card companies allow online betting sites to accept their cards. Two, that web is not constrained by state or even federal geographic boundries.

    It didn't say in the article, but I'm willing to bet that these gambling sites are not illegal outside of California; indeed, they might even be off-shore betting sites. I'm not sure that this issue (of accessing services around the globe that are illegal in your locality) has been addressed by the courts yet, but it'll probably come up if this case moves forward.

    As far as credit card companies working with LEGAL casinos, this has been happening for a long time. You're not "purchasing" gambling; you're getting a cash advance (for which the credit card company usually charges you extra) and you're using that cash how you see fit; you can choose to walk away from the casino with all your money, or you can choose to bet it.

    One possible scenario I see coming out of this: one way that the US Govt. has dealt with Child Porn coming over the Internet is to determine that this material essentially originates in the state in which it is downloaded (e.g. when someone downloads such material, the 'transaction' occurs in your location.)

    Since this guy claims that he was encouraged to participate in "illegal gambling activity", couldn't the same rule be applied to him, and his computer be deemed the origination of such illegal gambling? As such, not only would he lose this case, but he would be guilty of a felony in California! Wouldn't that be justice...

  • The criminal does something bad, is caught for it, then tries to weasel his way out of his crime by appealing to some law, even though he himself broke it when he committed his crime. And the worst part about it? He probably has a case that could get him to the Supreme Court.

    The lawsuit alleges the credit card companies participate in and profit from illegal online gambling by issuing merchant accounts to Internet casino operators who accept bets from web surfers
    located in California where such gambling is illegal.

    So, if someone breaks the law by gambling in California, yet gambling in California is illegial, but online gambling exists (the majority of which are actually in another country), what do you do?

    Well, the obvious question is: Can the laws of another country (aka legalized gambling) take precidence over laws of the US or of California (aka illegal gambling)? The obvious answer: no. But then, why are millions of people able to gamble even though it's illegal? Answer: they shouldn't, yet they do.

    My point is this: here's a place where the internet is the gateway to breaking laws. Gambling is illegal, yet is it legal via the internet?

    I'm afraid that people might start seeing government imposed limitations on the internet if this case actually gets enough media attention.
  • First of all, I hope this man gets countersued by the companies he is claiming caused him such misery. He serves at the very least to pay these companies for their legal fees.

    Second, this man is an example of when natual selection gone wrong. By all logic, this man should have died long ago. All I can assume is this man is a leech to society who has done it absolutely no good. But thanks to welfare and a society whre people don't have to accept responsibility for their actions, this man is still around, using up my tax money in court for a frivolous lawsuit.

    This is sick.
  • Her name is Cynthia Haines and she's from Calafornia.

    Vias and Mastercard sued her for debt and she countersued 'cos net gambling is illegal in CA.

    See and do a search for
    Cynthia Haines
    (they're only on 128k so I didn't want to /. 'em!)
  • Whoah. For a second there, I thought GritsBoy got himself an account... : )


  • Now, I'm not from America, but that means I've got a different perspective on you guys. You're totally correct in what you say, and it seems to me that it's a national mentality where there is in inability to admit that America is as flawed as the rest of the world. If the causes of these problems were tackled then it would be the same as saying things aren't perfect - it's better to say that if a kid shoots up his school then he's got mental problems than to say it was because of the society he grew up in. Don't get more wrong, I'm not saying America is a bad place, it's just that it's not really as good as some Americans seem to spend a lot of time telling everybody.

  • by DanaL ( 66515 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:29AM (#1475548)
    I believe I probably have a caffeine addiction, but if I managed to rack up $25k on my credit card in chocolate and coffee, I like to think I won't sue anyone. I like to think that I would say to myself, "Dana, you're a moron, you got yourself into this situation, it's your own stupid fault, now try to fix the problem."

    Now that I think about it though, maybe this guy isn't so dumb. Maybe he realizes the legal system doesn't hold people accountable for their actions so if he can get out of debt in a lawsuit, why not? Perhaps it's the legal system that has allowed people to win stupid lawsuits that is most at fault here.

  • The deal with that case was (IIRC) that the casino was in vegas, and she lived in CA. There is a law in place barring the collection of gambling debts across state lines. They weren't alowed to collect, but her credit went strait to /dev/null.


    Fsck the millennium, we want it now.
  • I have to agree that (state laws not withstanding), the man in question deserve not one penny back. But this isn't worth getting all worked up over, the market place can easily correct this one. If it happens too often, the Credit Card companies will just cut off casinos. The only member of the public who will suffer will be responsible people who want to use their CCs to gamble - or put another way, nobody.

    Sure, some casino staff might lose their jobs, but I have about as much sympathy there as I do for Tobacco workers who become redundant when smokers quit (for me that's some, but not much, you may feel differently). Oh, and a few owners and managers who deserve no sympathy whatsoever.
  • Umm... Here's another slant. If she was gambling in a state where it's not allowed wasn't she breaking the law? If I break into a computer in a state where it is allowed from a state where cracking isn't allowed then aren't I open to persecution in my home state?
  • This is a net zero to the issuer, the bank and the insurance company. They will just right it off as "Bad Debt" and save the same amout in taxes.

    No big deal, it is done every day. The only reason this got any press is because it has both Internet and Credit Card in the subject matter. This time of year, with all the online shopping, anything negative with these two items will get attention.

  • My point was this. In the old days, you did something stupid and you died, or at least suffered consequences. Survival of the fittest applied to humans (aka Social Darwinism). In the USA today not only do we not suffer consequences for our studitiy, but now we actually profit from it. Everything is so damn centered around safety, and protecting people from themselves it's sick. For example, my local news did a special the other night on the dangers of sliding electronic doors in stores. "Are they safe???" It's one thing if the doors really were much of a menace (ie randomly shutting on people rather abruptly). But that's not what they were demonstrating. They were demonstrating standing right in between the doors and attempting to get them to close upon themselves!

    It used to be something like, "Play with fire, and you shall get burned." Johnny Cochran has now bastardized that into "Play with fire, and you shall get paid. They shouldn't have sold you those matches and gasoline. That's not safe."

    We have too much time, and too many lawyers in the USA.
  • Al Gore brought us the internet, he must be made to pay, I think the RIAA should sue him too after all what network does napster use. If Mr. Gore isn't responsible for this then I don't know who would be.
  • Never fear, our friends in redmond are working on a way to remove these sorts of lawsuits. Microsoft Eugenics 1.0 will be released to the public in Q4-2000. It will also be bung^Hdled into the next generation of DOS^H^H^HWindows. As part of the registration process, the user will be given a simple yet accurate IQ test. If the score is below 100, a Microsoft Strike Team 4.0 squad will be sent to the users house to castrate them. Within a generation, we should see a massive drop in these sorts of lawsuits as well as a sharp drop in support calls from individuals attempting to use their mouse as a foot pedal. Microsoft has admitted that reducing the number of truly stupid individuals in the world will negatively impact their sales, but the benefit of wiping out future AOL users will be worth it. Microsoft also addressed fears that their Strike Team 4.0 squads might target users of Linux or *BSD by releasing a press release reading in part: "Why bother? None of those geeks has a prayer of reproducing anyway."

  • I plan to sue Bill Gates, the computer gaming industry and the real world. Gates/Micrsoft because the OS crashes and makes me lose valuable irreplaceble time. The Gaming industry keeps making these games I just HAVE to play all the time and since they only are on microsoft's OS they support microsoft's time sucking OS. I also plan to include the real world, because if it would just stop I could happily play my games all the time instead its go to sleep, go to work. Heck I might sue my own body with all of its go to the bathroom, go get food I'm hungry, go get some excercise or I'll have a heart attack or something. Shouldn't the government be protecting me from these evils?
  • You're now quite right - there is always one party who wins: the gambling company! (And they win very much, I suppose.)
  • IIRC, the law was on her side in that case. Apparently in the relevant jurisdiction it was illegal to make a loan where the loan is intended to be used to gamble (even if the gambling is to be done in a jurisdiction where it is legal). It's kind of a weird law (although I can think of some good reasons for it), but was clearly spelled out beforehand. If this is a similar case, then I imagine it will go the same way. (If the specifics differ, then it's anyone's guess how it will turn out.)


  • ...You can imagine how upset I was last Saturday when I didn't buy a ticket for the lottery, and saw Elvis zing by in his flying saucer...
  • by Apuleius ( 6901 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:38AM (#1475570) Journal
    If you're a large corporation faced with a frivolous lawsuit, offer the settle for a large sum, with the caveat that the plaintiff consents to a vasectomy or tubal ligation. After a few decades the problem will abate!

  • Didn't I see this on Mr. Show or something?
  • There was a link about the McDonald's lady posted in /. comments a while ago. She only sued to cover medical expenses (25K due to her _third-degree_ burns, skin grafts, etc), and the jury awarded her a lot more. There are photos of what happened to her, and they are gruesome. This was no "oochy! that's hot!" case.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:39AM (#1475574)
    In the US, illegal gambling debts can not be collected. It is also illegal to use a wire to transmit a wager across state lines. I think the credit cards should have known they were extending credit for illegal activites. I'm not saying i agree with all these laws, but the law is pretty clear.
  • Obviously this wasn't some working class man trying to earn money for his family so I could care less.

    I'm not entirely sure that this is true. I think that gambling is a serious addition for a lot of people, and more often than not the people who require help ARE the working class people looking to make some quick, easy money.

    While I do not support the people who are pushing to have gambling and slot machines outlawed, I do think we need to have some measures in place to help prevent this kind of thing from happening. Unfortunately, what this solution is, I'm not entirely sure. But following Homer's morals and not caring 'cause you don't know 'em isn't the answer.

    And in AMEX's defence, I don't think they should be accountable because he gambled away a crap load of money. To me, that is as silly as holding gun companies accountable for a murder. As far as I'm concerned, unless there is blatent negligence, accountability is always found in the do-er of the action (of course there is who whole notion of being ordered to do something, say in the Army, but that's a whole other topic).

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:48AM (#1475586) Homepage Journal
    This all comes down to a matter of who is responsible for what. Unfortunately, in America, the prevalent attitude is "all or nothing", which (frankly) is pathetic and stupid.

    The guy used the card on the Internet, and therefore bears a certain degree of responsibility, EVEN IF he turns out to be a gambling addict. Responsibility is not necessarily a function of ability and is certainly not a function of denial.

    Having said that, any credit card company willing to issue a card to an addict should be prepared to accept some degree of responsibility for the conseequences. If you wave a bottle of whiskey in front of an alchoholic, the chances are they're not going to just close their eyes & ignore it.

    ONE responsibility does NOT negate the other. It is perfectly legitamate for more than one person to have some degree of accountability over something. Indeed, it is frankly stupid to pretend that everything happens in isolation, and that all "blame" should be heaped onto a single scapegoat.

    Primitive tribes tried that with real goats, and it got them exactly nowhere. Denial ain't your friend.

    I would say that the online casino is a measure responsible, too. After all, in bars and pubs, if someone's had too much to drink, the landlord will usually stop serving them, and the bouncers may escort them to the door. Why should a casino do any less?

    Overall, I'd break down the responsibility as follows: The guy has the bulk, as it was HIS choice, so I'll say that's 85%. The credit card company should be more careful on who it issues cards to, so I'll call that 10%. The casino can't have been oblivious to the fact this guy was hooked, and should have limited things before they got out of control, not tempted him to spend more. (But, the gambler's reaction to temptation is HIS and NOBODY ELSE'S, which is why I don't see the casino as having any more than 5% responsibilty.)

    IMHO, the lawsuit should end with the gambler paying 85% of the debts, the casino 5% and the credit card company writing off the remaining 10%. The gambler should then have his credit card revoked and his credit status put as a bad risk, for at least a year, with court-ordered attendance to gambler's anonymous.

    Of course, this will never happen. America's too caught in the all-or-nothing parade, as shown by the woman who sued McDonalds over giving her hot coffee. Either McDonalds was all to blame, and the woman innocent, despite the fact that it was her negligence which caused the cup to spill, or it was the woman who was guilty, and McDonalds innocent, for all that they didn't bother to seal the lid on properly.

    Sorry to disapoint people, but the universe doen't believe in finger-pointing.

  • What is the legal status of online gambling?
    If it is legal then the credit card companies have every right to extend a merchant account to these companies and the guy has no case.
    If it is illegal then the guy was breaking the law when he gambled online and has no case again.
    I really don't see how he can win, does anybody know the outcome of the case where the women sued the credit card companies a while back for the same thing?

  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @07:58AM (#1475597) Homepage
    You're missing the point. The internet gambling people broke into his house, FORCED him to go to their web site and lose 25 grand. He should be protected from this kind of intrusive behavior. And how was he supposed to know that he could LOSE money gambling. Actually, I watched my roomate lose $350 in twenty minutes yesterday at Online poker- not for the faint of heart. All other online gambling- a total suckers game.

    -Teddy KGB
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And we'll soon be using Linux to run video slots/poker/keno/etc. (I introduced Linux to the company!). Anyway, saying the casino "always wins" is misleading. The casino will win from 6 players, but lose to 5. Overall the casino takes in more than it pays out (duh) just like any other business' goal, but saying they "always win" implies that they never pay out, which is just plain wrong. What's more is that when vacationers come to Vegas, etc. they should be coming here to HAVE FUN (they might win some money... they might lose some money... either way, they have a good time doing it). If they're coming here to "make money", then they are coming for the wrong reason, and probably have a gambling problem and should get help. If you're not having a good time gambling, then you perhaps you shouldn't be.
  • Ok, I gotta ask, who would bet $25k in online gambling?
    People who buy into overpriced IPOs on Internet stock trading sites?

  • If you racked up $25k on your credit card in chocolate & cocoa, you'd be dead of a heart attack from the sugar & caffeine - hardly the condition where you could personally pursue a lawsuit :)

    (I guess if you were buying it for OTHER people - but then it would be difficult to claim personal injury...hmmm...AGGH! TOO MUCH ANALYSIS!)
  • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @08:09AM (#1475611)
    ONE responsibility does NOT negate the other. It is perfectly legitamate for more than one person to have some degree of accountability over something. Indeed, it is frankly stupid to pretend that everything happens in isolation, and that all "blame" should be heaped onto a single scapegoat.

    Primitive tribes tried that with real goats, and it got them exactly nowhere. Denial ain't your friend.

    Just an off-topic point. No one "blamed" the scapegoat for their sins. The scapegoat recieved their sins and was then sent off in the wilderness. It's more of a martyr than anything else. A second goat was then slaughtered as a sin offering to God. Personally, it sounds like the scapegoat got the better part of the deal. Check Leviticus chap. 16 for the details.

    Somehow, the concept has been corrupted in modern English. Now we blame the scapegoat for our sins, rather than use the scapegoat to "absorb" our sins. And we tend to kill the scapegoat rather than give him his freedom. Details...


  • This sounds like a very sensible solution. Which is probably why the courts will decide on something else. :P

    Real life is all about shared responsibility. Ultimately, everyone makes his/her own choices. Other people may be able to influence you, so they share the responsibility somewhat, but you still have the choice. I think your comment summarized that nicely.


  • by locust ( 6639 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @08:35AM (#1475634)
    Having said that, any credit card company willing to issue a card to an addict should be prepared to accept some degree of responsibility for the conseequences. If you wave a bottle of whiskey in front of an alchoholic, the chances are they're not going to just close their eyes & ignore it.

    How does the credit card company know you're a gambling addict without profiling you? If you become an addict after they've given you the card do they still have some responsibliity? Or can they ask you to tell them you have a problem? Or can they demand you ask just a few 'personal' questions?

    While credit card companies do already profile thier users spending habits to a certain extent to make sure that the card has not been lost or stolen (i.e. I spend $4000 one day after averaging $100/month for that last year they will tell the next merchant to call you) I would find the sort of tracking where they ask me questions periodically too intrusive. And I suspect so would a large number of other people. Thus a credit card company has no way to know if you're an addict. Even then, would you want them to know? They would probably never give you credit again, and trash your credit record.

    In this vein, there was a proposed law (it may have been a bank initiative) a little while ago that would require banks to be able to predict the spending of thier customers. It drew plenty of fire from privacy advocates, with good reason -Its nobodies business what I do with my money.

    By asking corporations to be responsible for the habits of thier customers, in cases like this (faulty breaks are a different matter), you are not only inviting but forcing the corporation to take a much larger interest in your private life then I suspect you would like.


  • I never heard that story. I recall the McDonald's coffee. When I heard that story, I figured the lady never had a childhood where most people learn what HOT! means. I'm curious to know what someone hasn't learned in a bathroom.

    Some guy had his 'member' mangled by the toilet seat, so is suing for quite a large sum, his wife is suing as well for ummm, obvious reasons...

  • In the USA today not only do we not suffer consequences for our studitiy, but now we actually profit from it.

    You misunderstand. 'Social Darwinism' is still occuring, it's just that our society is now selecting for behaviours that most of us find repugnent.

  • Hey Rob! Not the boring Rob[limo] (hehe... j/k) Rob Malda! You owe me buddy. My cat would frequent slashdot on a regular basis. It would post stuff about hot grits and what not. Then its karma went down, and I found it last night dead... Overdosed on catnip and covered in its own kitty litter. All that was left was this note:
    To Whom it may concern-
    My life is not important anymore. My karma is -54. There is no hope for me. Meow meow meow... I just believed all the hype. The illusion of getting a +5 funny with a grits joke was just too tempting. My life goal will never be achieved. Meow.

    DAMN YOU SLASHDOT! You will be hearing from my lawyers!
  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @08:52AM (#1475646) Homepage
    "I spilt hot coffee on my leg and it hurt. It's not my fault, I didn't expect coffee to be made with hot water"
    According to this Web page [], in the Lieback vs. McDonald's case, McDonald's was serving coffee at 180-190 degrees Farenheit, while most restaurants serve it at 135-145 degrees. The coffee didn't merely "hurt" Ms. Lieback; she had to be hospitalized for weeks and get skin grafts, with hospital bills over $10,000. She tried to get McDonald's to reimburse her medical expenses, and they turned her down. So she sued.

    In pre-trial discovery, her lawyers discovered that McDonald's had been sued seven hundred other times for similar injuries, and settled out of court every time, requiring the injured parties to keep quiet about the agreements.

    The jury awarded Ms. Lieback $2.7M in punitive damages, but the judge reduced that to $480K, and the parties settled for even less (presumably to save everyone the hassle of going through an appeals court).

    McDonald's knew they were doing something that could get them sued again and again. They had an opportunity to change their policies to prevent more lawsuits. They even had an opportunity to settle Ms. Lieback's complaint without any lawsuit or trial. They passed up their opportunities. So who was irresponsible?

  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @08:57AM (#1475648) Homepage
    As a matter of public policy and law, gambling debts are unenforceable in many states. This can be traced back to the Statute of Anne (1710) in England. A legal discussion of the situation in California can be found here [].

    I don't have any sympathy for credit card companies that issue merchant accounts to a on-line casino. It is blindingly obvious that it will be used for lending money to gamblers.

  • Absolutely! Credit card companies make buttloads of money, but it's no reason to prevent them from collecting from geniuses like this.

    Take me, for example. I'm in a very deep hole with consumer debt right now, as I've spent tons of money over the last two years starting a "real-world" job and living in one of the most expensive areas of the world. I, unlike millions of others each year, intend to pay back every cent. It's going to cost a fortune, but it sure feels better than going bankrupt, which is what stupid people end up doing because they don't feel like paying for their purchases. The companies are actually somewhat justified when people skip out on $10K, $20K and more in debt. (Things like 22% interest, excessive penalties, etc. aren't great, but they do want to make a high profit, like any business.)

    Lately, however, I've seen a lot of "stupidity controls" go into place. These will allow the card companies to profit even more off the stupid. With most cards, if you miss 2 payments in a year, your interest rate jumps to the maximum allowed for the card. Idiots who charge over their credit limit (most purchases less than $50 don't require pre-authorization) are getting hit with fees and extra interest. And better yet, I keep seeing mailings sending me "checks" that encourage me to "deposit them into your account for extra cash!" How stupid do they think these people are?

    All I know is this; I signed the charge slips and clicked the "Buy Now!" buttons, and it's my responsibility to pay them back. This doofus goes and blows $25K on something as silly as gambling (not even food, clothes, etc.) and then expects the card companies to forgive the debt? If I were the CEO of these companies, I'd refuse to settle and force a lawsuit, just so I could publically state to the world what a waste of space this guy is. Come on, *I* made a stupid mistake getting into debt. I'm not going to make mistake #2 and not pay for it. That's stupid.

  • Speaking of taking responsibilty on the net, I read yesterday that former Infoseek head and now jailbird Patrick McNaughton, who was caught crossing state lines to have sex with a minor he met on the net, is going to base his case on the fact that the net chat room was some sort of fantasy zone and he thought he was meeting somebody who was "role-playing" a 13 year old girl, not a real 13 year old. This is exactly the same buck-passing that is going on here. Both the gambler guy and McNaughton made the decision to do what they did but they refuse to take responsibilty for it because it was on the net.


    If this guy has a gambling habit, he needs to get help. The online casino doesn't know anything about him, nor does the credit card company. This isn't the same thing as a bartender kicking out a drunk, the barkeep can see the guy is a drunk, the online casino can't. Maybe the credit card company should have cut him off after they saw the $25K spent in a short time but why should they? They're in business to make money, not moral decisions for people. There are millions of gambling addicts who didn't rack up $25K in credit on the net, why should this guy get a free ride? Just because Patrick McNaughton "thought" he was only meeting somebody playing a 13 year old (which I doubt because he had child porn on his computers), why should that make a difference? If I kill somebody because I thought the guy would live through it, does that make me any less liable? Nope.

    Giving people free passes to do whatever they want because it's the net or because it's on credit is the wrong path to go down. This guy should learn his lesson by working the rest of his life to pay back the money and McNaughton should do jail time because if they don't, who's to say they won't do the same thing again? After all, they didn't suffer any consequences the last time.
  • If online gambling was illegal in the plaintiff's jurisdiction this would have no impact on his case against the credit card company. You do not give up your right to sue, simply because the alleged tort was commited against you while you were engaged in an illegal act.

    Consider the case of a kid who enters an unsecured construction site to tag a newly-built building. He's commiting a civil offence (trespass) and quite possible a criminal offence (criminal damage.) However, if he falls down an improperly marked and cordoned excavation and breaks his back he still has the right to sue the site owners for negligence.


  • Why is the casino liable in your eyes? They don't know they guy.. They have never seen him face to face.. for all they knew they guy was a Donald Trump and the 25K is pocket change. Nor do I feel the credit card company is at fault here. All they did is extend him credit.. which was to be used at his descetion. This is the same as the debate over wether ISP's are liable for the use of the bandwidth they sell to people. Some use the bandwidth for research or whatnot, others use it for Kiddie Porn.. however the ISP isn't responsible. Likewise Credit card companies are not responsible for how the credit they give to people is used.
  • by bcrafts ( 49979 ) on Wednesday December 08, 1999 @10:04AM (#1475682) Homepage
    What if legal action against Discover & AmEx had been initiated by a credit researcher or an advocate against online gambling?

    It's a thought to consider. A person or group of people, angered at the possible loopholes offered by these major companies to known online casinos, file suit to insure everyone is playing by the rules. Rational & reasonable.

    But, that isn't the case.

    A gambler lost a large sum of money at his own discretion, and is clutching at straws to get himself out of paying his debt. Period.

    American Express didn't enter his Card number on the site.
    Discover didn't agree to the Terms & Conditions of the site.
    Neither suggested amassing a $25k IOU.

    The article failed to note that, even if the CC's were not involved, he would still have an impressive debt to pay off. Where would the finger point then?

    To quote the ZDnet story []:

    A California man who lost $25,000 gambling online has sued American Express and Discover Financial Services, arguing the credit card companies encouraged his gambling.

    Hmmm. Had he pissed away his son's college fund in Vegas, would the Casino be under fire for encouragment from free drinks & "Really Pretty Lights?". What about his travel agent for encouraging a trip to vegas? What about that guy at the bank that encouragingly discussed his great luck at the slots? Doubtful.


    1) Pay the bill.
    2) Cut your cards.
    3) Quit yer bitching. Next time, try a whiplash lawsuit instead. It's a bit more to chew on.

    #include brandon.h

  • >Just because Patrick McNaughton "thought" he was only meeting somebody
    >playing a 13 year old (which I doubt because he had child porn on his computers),

    That seems equally consistant with him thinking it was someone playing a 13 year old. It's not as if he would go along with that if he weren't in to that sort of thing.

    How is his having actual child porn on his computer consistant with his thinking it was somebody playing a 13yr old? If he had the 13 year old girls on his computer, that makes it more likely that he's into 13 year olds, not people playing 13 year olds. I've seen pics of older people dressing up as youngsters, I'd believe that was his thing if he had pics like that.
  • If a compulsive gambler has no credit, they're likely to hit bottom & get their lives sorted out much faster than if they're propped up by credit cards.

    This isn't about "protecting". Quite the opposite. It's about refusing to shelter someone from their behaviour, by deferring their losses in some kind of credit system.

    I don't care what you, or anyone else, spends their money on, but I see it as pointless, futile and inane to throw money at addicts in the hope that they'll be resposible with it. Reality Check here! They wouldn't be addicts, if they were being responsible! You can't be both! Addiction is a disease, which attacks the responsibility glands.

    Nobody has the right to say what you spend your cash on, but you would probably be glad if they didn't loan you a few thousand, if you were going to blow the lot on booze, drugs or gambling, and they were aware that that was likely. I believe you'd much rather they waited until some other time, so you could spend it on something you -wanted-, rather on compulsively filling some void.

  • Fundamental flaw: A working class stiff usually doesn't have a $25,000 credit line on one card.

  • How are they supposed to know? That part is the million-dollar question. Insurance companies would LOVE to know how to find out if someone is an addict or not. It would save them so much time.

    The premise of the credit card's responsibility is that they had the ability to determine either that the person was an addict, or that something was seriously amiss. (And I think they'd know if he was a Donald Trump wannabe.) Also note that the argument is that responsibility is distributed, not focussed.

    If the credit card company could not reasonably have known, then they had no reasonable responsibility. However, addicts are rarely made in a day, except in cases of serious head injuries or other extreme trauma. It's usually a life-long debilitating disease, starting from childhood. In the first case, the responsibility of the credit card company would be rendered 0%, and the 10% they would have had would shift entirely onto the gambler.

    In the second case, their credit history (which will be quite detailed) would make it abundantly clear to anyone that this person had a serious problem. A problem that had not prevented them from paying bills, so far, but which made them a bad risk, in the extreme. Choosing a bad risk is definitely up to the credit card company. Nobody can -make- them issue a card, they did so of their own free will, knowing the credit history of the person involved. That's worth a good 10% of responsibility for negligence, in my book, though no more. The bulk of responsibility is always with the person.

    I'm not going to get into a "who knows more addicts" pissing contest. That's childish and immature. I'll just say that IMHO, the Big Book is as near the definitive work on addiction as has ever been written. And it's amazingly easy to spot addicts. If they say one thing, and do the opposite, repeatedly, no matter how hard they try, they're addicts. Doubly so if they try and justify or blame others.

  • she'll never be able to...

    (Assuming everyone is in the US...)

    That is utter bullshit. After ten years all references to this event must be wiped from her credit report. If some credit bureau refuses to remove the negative information, they could find themselves at the end of a very nasty lawsuit for violation of the FCRA and possibly even defamation.

    That means that, at worst, her slate will be wiped clean in 10 years.

    However, even in the interrim this is hardly a "kiss of death." Her problems might have been due to transient financial problems which no longer apply. (The classic examples are major illness, divorce, job loss.) She might have been a struggling college student and now settled into a new career and fairly affluent. She might have one the lottery, or come into an inheritence. Most creditors will take all of this into consideration.

    Finally, while you have been busy on your soapbox some companies have made a bundle on "marginal credit" for people such as this. She would have no problem getting a secured credit card, for instance, since refusal to pay would simply result in her account being closed and a check for the remainder of her deposit being sent. House and car loans are also possible, albeit at a higher interest rate (by several points, typically), plus extra points and a larger down payment.
  • We've debunked the coffee lawsuit every time someone's brought up a trial lawyer's "Why suing is good" page like the one you linked. Do note that the people you quote make a living on personal injury lawsuits, one of the most notorious areas of lawsuit abuse. This is like quoting the KKK in a story about the NAACP...

    Read the alt.drugs.caffeine FAQ. McDonald's was not unusual in the temperature used to prepare their coffe.

    Remember also that the person who order the hot coffee did not have it spilled on them by a McDonald's employee. The woman in question was the passenger in a stopped car who place it between her legs, took the lid off and then spilled it. An intelligent person might have noticed "Gee, this coffee isn't cold" and been careful.

    The 700 previous times looks very impressive until you actually do some math. Those 700 cases were over a 10 year period. Even assuming each of the 25,000 McDonalds restaurants sold only 10 cups of a coffee a day, for every single person who had a problem, 1.3 million people did not! This is not the sign of a killer product...

    (Note also that your average McDonalds probably sells the 10 cups/day I used in 15 minutes during the breakfast rush, making the real accident rate significantly lower. )

    I'd be amazed if they didn't have a similar number of little kids poking each other with forks, people slipping on ice and the countless other things that happen when you're serving millions of people on a daily basis.

  • I just posted about this in response to another post []. Basically, McDonalds had never been warned about coffee being too hot; they had something like 1 in 20,000,000 people complain it was too hot. As far as the burns go, McDonald was well within the normal range for coffee preparation according to many sources.

    The problem is that people don't think about their actions and don't take responsibility. It's not as if the drive-through worker dumped the coffee on her. The woman in question was the passenger in a motionless car, she got the coffee, placed it between her legs, pulled the lid off and only noticed it was hot when she then spilled it. That's being a klutz, not a victim.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.