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Supreme Court Ruling Spells Trouble for American Blackjack Card Counters

Oct 1, 2010

Blackjack card counting
Card counting

A recent Supreme Court ruling in the United States says casinos have the right to ban blackjack card counters.

In August of 2006, The Grand Victoria Casino in the US state of Indiana barred blackjack champ Thomas Donovan after they discovered him using a blackjack card counting system to beat the house. During the last several years, Donovan has been in and out of court, fighting for his right to count cards.

The first case was heard by the local Marion County Court. Donovan argued that the casino had no right to ban him because technically, card counting is not illegal. The casino won the case, but Donovan challenged the ruling, winning his case at the Indiana Court of Appeals. This was great news for blackjack players. Even Indiana governor Mitch Daniels applauded Donovan’s efforts.

The Grand Victoria Casino, however, was far from pleased. They took the case to the Indiana Supreme Court. The court finally ruled on the matter on October 01 – in favor of the casino. The Justices decided that the case really had nothing to do with counting cards while playing blackjack card games. Instead, the central issue was the casino’s right to exclude patrons for whatever reason they deem legitimate.

This ruling marks the end of Donovan’s battle, and sets an unfortunate precedent for casinos, who will undoubtedly rely on the ruling to enforce their right to rid themselves of pesky card counters, whose ingenuity and perseverance help them beat the dealer and come out ahead.

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