Jury: Harrah’s casino liable for brawl

In a surprise ruling, a jury found that a Harrah’s casino is liable for injuries sustained when a biker brawl broke out on their premises.

The casino in question is Harrah’s Laughlin, a casino in southern Nevada on the Colorado River that has slots, blackjack and other standard casino games. The incident in question happened more than six years ago.

On April 28, 2002, the casino was the unfortunate host of a deadly brawl between two rival biker gangs. Early in the morning, bikers from the Hell’s Angels and the Mongols entered the casino and quickly began fighting. The gang members were armed with guns and knives and though security attempted to bring the situation under control, three people were killed and many more injured in the incident, including some innocent casino customers.

I feel for any casino customers who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I wonder if the casino could have done anything to prevent this. Certainly an armed conflict between two dangerous biker gangs is not the type of thing a casino security team can be expected to be prepared for, right?

Though in five previous federal court cases, the jury agreed with me, this time the jurors sided with the injured parties. Plaintiffs in the case included Andrea and Dean Daniels, who were innocently playing blackjack when injured in the fracas, and Michael Bower, whose back was injured when he dove to the floor.

Harrah’s Laughlan is expected to appeal the decision to a higher court. I hate to point it out like this, but you usually don’t have to worry about biker brawls when playing online blackjack at home. I’m just saying…

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