The Law and Alcohol Based Businesses

Mark Johnston, a California businessman, racked up half a million dollars in gambling debt over the course of two days. That news would likely be upsetting to anyone; however, Mr. Johnston is taking a different approach to dealing with his sky-high debts.

His argument is that he should not be held accountable for the debt, and he is suing the casino where he lost the money—Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino—on grounds that they continued to serve him when he claims he was blackout drunk.

While Las Vegas, Nevada is a well-known party spot in which many lose their shirt—or at least their rent money—while drinking and gambling, the casino might be held liable.

Under Nevada law, casinos are barred from allowing patrons who are clearly intoxicated from gambling and continuing to drink complimentary drinks given to gamblers.

Here in New Mexico, our law is similar, and bars are prohibited from serving those who are visibly intoxicated. This is a tricky line for bar owners and servers to follow, as they, of course, want to continue receiving paying business but must be careful not to cross the line. If they continue serving those who are highly intoxicated, there could be legal repercussions—just as there may be for the Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

If you are a bar owner or server, and have questions about the legal boundaries you are held to when it comes to intoxicated patrons, give us a call at 505-848-8581 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
For more on Mr. Johnston’s story,  read the full story

About dkochersberger:

Don Kochersberger is an attorney and partner of Slingshot, LLC, the parent company of Business Law Southwest, LLC, and Law 4 Small Business, P.C. He is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and Texas, and leads the firm's litigation practice.

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