Ropes & Gray Secures Significant Litigation Victory for Caesars

In The News
October 1, 2010
David O. Stewart

Do casinos have a duty to prevent compulsive gamblers from gambling? In a case of first impression, the Indiana Supreme Court found for Ropes & Gray’s client, Caesars Indiana, an affiliate of Harrah's Entertainment Inc., and said no.

A compulsive gambler sued Caesars/Harrah's in Indiana trial court, claiming their casino should have prevented her from gambling if it knew of her condition. Ropes & Gray attorneys argued the casino had no such duty and moved to dismiss. After the trial judge refused to dismiss the case, the firm took an interlocutory appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals. In March 2009, the appeals court reversed the trial court and ruled in Caesars/Harrah's favor. The compulsive gambler plaintiff petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the case, and on September 30 the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s ruling, holding that the Indiana statutory scheme covering gambling and the plaintiff’s claim “are so incompatible that they cannot occupy the same space.” Caesars/Harrah's formed in the summer of 2004 when Harrah's bought casino rival Caesars for $5 billion—a deal that made the combined operation the nation's largest casino company.

Washington, D.C.-based counsel David Stewart, handled the case and said, "Not only does the Supreme Court’s decision satisfactorily resolve the specific case but it can be used in all gaming jurisdictions to assist our client." This decision further illustrates the premier status of Ropes & Gray’s Gaming Practice, which was recently ranked as Tier 1 in the U.S. News-Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey.

Ropes & Gray handles every aspect of gaming law, including transactional and restructuring matters, litigation, and regulatory and compliance issues for gaming companies worldwide. In recent years, the Ropes group has continued to lead the field in handling cutting-edge issues, especially those relating to the legality and regulation of internet gambling. Ropes & Gray is the only national law firm that is a member of the American Gaming Association, which is also a client of the firm.


David O. Stewart
David O. Stewart
Retired Partner