Angry Punter Hits MGM Resorts With Class Action Lawsuit

MGM REsorts logo. Brand hit by lawsuit

It is not only here in Australia where casinos face class action lawsuits because MGM Resorts in the United States finds itself in hot water. Leane Scherer claims MGM Resorts pockets millions of dollars annually by essentially short-changing customers. Scherer filed her lawsuit in Mississippi’s Southern District federal court.

A casino ripping off its customers sounds absurd, but that is what is happening at MGM Resorts properties. Whether the casino giant is short-changing customers on purpose is debatable, yet its current payout processes do make it confusing for players cashing out casino games winnings.

MGM Resorts, like many casinos worldwide, has self-service cashier kiosks. Players using electronic games, including pokies and roulette games, receive a voucher when they withdraw their balance or winnings. However, MGM did away with dispensing change from these machines. They did this to reduce high-touch transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, a punter receives a winning’s voucher for $39.27. They put the voucher in the self-service cashier kiosk and receive $39 in bills. A second voucher is issued for the $0.27 balance. It is only possible to cash this amount at a manned cashier desk. Scherer claims many punters are unaware of this step or how to redeem the change. Therefore, they leave without ever cashing in the cents, leaving MGM Resorts to pocket the cash.

MGM Resorts Racks Up Millions in Loose Change Lawyers Claim

Scherer took legal action after a trip to MGM Resorts’ Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi in June 2022. Scherer states she put $40 into a pokies machine, lost more than half, and withdrew $18.19. The self-service kiosk gave her $18 plus a “TRU Ticket” for the amount of $0.19. Scherer claims she had no idea what to do with the TRU Ticket and left the casino without her full balance. Furthermore, Scherer claims other Biloxi casinos dispense change from their kiosks.

“Casino operators enter into hundreds of thousands of transactions a day,” Scherer’s attorneys said. “When a casino starts taxing players by refusing to refund cash change, it racks up millions of dollars in profits.”

It appears Scherer has a case against the American casino giant because the TRU Ticket does not indicate how to cash it in.

Several Las Vegas casinos, including the Wynn, clearly state their machines do not dispense change. However, MGM Resorts has neglected such notices at its properties.

Gambling Giant is a Worldwide Entity

It is difficult to imagine the practice of not dispensing change is limited to the Biloxi MGM Resorts property. The company is a global entity with casinos dotted around the United States, Dubai, and China. In recent times, the company has delved into the world of online poker and allows patrons to play online casino games for real money. It partners with Entain, owners of Ladbrokes, for its online gambling operations.

COVID-19 related closures and restrictions hit the owner and operator of iconic venues such as Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand Las Vegas, and Mandalay Bay hard. The company wrote down more than US$1 billion in the valuation of its stock. Owning more than 45,000 rooms, almost 30,000 pokies, and more than 1,900 gaming tables means the company quickly recouped those losses.

The financial update for MGM Resorts in 2021 show the company had net revenues of some US$9.68 billion. Operating income weighed in at US$2.28 billion, with net income a cool US$1.21 billion. The company made a lost of almost US$1.32 billion in 2020, due to the aforementioned COVID-related write-down. However, it made US$2.2 billion profit during the previous year.

Lawsuits often take a lot of time to reach the stage where a court hears them. This particular case has no set date for the first proper hearing nor how much damages Scherer seeks. It will be interesting to see how much money MGM Resorts attributes to the short-changing of customers.