Massachusetts Man Sues Borgata for $1.25 Million Over Lifetime Ban

A professional poker player from Millbury, Massachusetts dropped a $1.25 million lawsuit against the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Last July, poker player Scott Robbins filed a lawsuit against the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. The lawsuit was prompted by an eviction and lifetime ban from the property. He claims that what hotel staff thought was a suicide threat during check-in was merely a joke.

According to court records, on September 9, the Borgata and Robbins reached an agreement without making a formal filing with the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. This fact indicates that Robbins voluntarily dropped the lawsuit.

Posts by someone claiming to be Robbins on a well-known poker forum claimed the Atlantic City casino offered him three different settlements. However, the forum posts did not give any details about the eventual settlement.


Suicide Drama, or Bad Joke?

According to the lawsuit, in September 2019, Robbins was checking into the popular Atlantic City resort for a poker tournament. When the desk clerk asked him if he preferred a room near ground level or on a higher floor.

Robbins allegedly joked, “Would I make it if I jumped from a lower floor window?” joked Robbins. The desk clerk allegedly begged him not to jump and Robbins allegedly assured the clerk he was just joking.

However, when Robbins reached his 30th-floor room, he was confronted by armed security. They told him that if he wanted to stay at the hotel, he needed to have a psychiatric evaluation. Security called an ambulance, whisking Robbins away to the nearest hospital. There, a psychiatrist confirmed in a written report that at this time he was not a danger to himself or others.

The ambulance ride and psychiatric evaluation cost him almost $2,000.

But, the written psychiatric report was not the end of Mr. Robbins’ unfortunate evening. Upon returning to his hotel room, he discovered his things had been removed. Not only that, he was told that he now had a lifetime ban from the Borgata. He was promptly escorted off the property, all due to the silly suicide joke he made while checking in.

However, in court filings, Robbins claimed that he wasn’t joking. Rather, was pointing out that in the event of an earthquake or fire, he couldn’t survive a jump from any window at the resort.


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How Robbins Decided on $1.25 Million

Robbins argued that, over the next 10 years, he would lose $85,000 per year in poker earnings due to the lifetime ban. Furthermore, he stood to lose an additional $200,000 in sponsorships. Also, he claimed he was owed $200,000 for libel, false imprisonment, and interference with prospective economic gain.


Borgata Had Reason to Worry

Just a few months previous to the Robbins incident, Eric Zaun, age 25, did commit suicide by jumping from his 29th floor Borgata hotel room. On June 13, 2019, the professional volleyball player from Cherry Hill, New Jersey was found unresponsive in the Borgata parking lot.

With this in mind, it’s understandable that the staff at Borgata were on the alert for potential suicides amongst their guests.

While Zaun’s death was ruled a suicide, it seemed completely unexpected and out of character. The tall, handsome volleyball player was known for his fun-loving and outgoing personality. He was popular with both his fans and his teammates. By all accounts, he loved his life. In fact, his final Instagram post stated that he thought June would be a good month. Moreover, he said that he was looking forward to the upcoming summer volleyball season.


Problem Gamblers at High Risk for Suicide

Also in March 2019, a Swedish study found that problem gamblers were 15x more likely to commit suicide, compared to the general population. The study, conducted over the course of 11 years at Lund University found that the rate of suicide increased a staggering 19x among male problem gamblers between the ages of 20 and 49. For problem gamblers of all ages and genders, the rate of suicide averaged out to 15x.

While Scott Robbins may not have been either a problem gambler or suicidal, he appeared to fit the age group and gender. This combined with Zaun’s suicide just a few months before could have contributed to the reaction by Borgata team members.


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Robbins is Still Playing and Winning

Despite the Borgata lifetime ban, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database, Robbins spent much of 2020 and 2021 playing and winning at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida. He also made appearances at Encore Boston Harbor in February 2020.

Following the Borgata ban in September 2019, Robbins hit the WSOP Circuit at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore. Hopefully, part of Robbins’ agreement includes lifting his ban from the Borgata, so that he can participate in World Poker Tour events.