A Blackjack Player Files a $3 Million Lawsuit Against Ameristar Casino

Joseph Shiraef, a blackjack player, wants Gaming and Leisure Properties, Ameristar Casino's owners, to pay him $3 million in damages. He accused the casino of illegally detaining him, claiming that he took part in card counting.

Shiraef says that state agents and the Black Hawk casino's staff should have detained him. He believes that Colorado only prohibits casino card counting if an individual uses card marking or technology.

The Denver Post reported Shiraef's complaint this week, hence popularizing it. The player initially filed the case on October 22 before amending and refiling it in December.

Shiraef's Gaming Session

The Georgia player went to the gaming property in October 2021. He had a layover at Denver International Airport due to his flight plans. Black Hawk is 30 miles away from Denver, and its popularity as a casino city is increasing.

Shiraef visited it and played blackjack for several hours. But, a casino worker inquired about his identification again. The player complied, but the worker sought to check something on his identification in the office.

The employee's claim irked Shiraef, and he accused the staff of failing to cash out $1,800 chips despite ascertaining his legal age. The player stated that the worker didn't have to take his identification since he had checked it earlier.

Shiraef opted to leave the casino without cashing his chips to board the plane. But, he intended to return to the property later to solve the issue. Still, a Colorado Gaming Commission (CGC) agent's car suddenly blocked his car as he left the premises.

His Detention

Shiraef stated in his lawsuit that the commission's agent prevented him from leaving before he submitted his identification. This prompted him to call 911 as he considered his detention unlawful.

A police officer arrived at Ameristar Casino a few minutes later. He took the player's identification and passed it to the agent, who later took it to the property's office.

The agent came back with Shiraef's ID after a while, telling him that he risked being apprehended for counting cards or cheating. The agent and officer's delay made Shiraef miss his flight.

He accused the casino of asking for his ID twice to unfairly add him to its skilled players' database. His lawyer claimed in case documents that he didn't do anything illegal or wrong, justifiable for him to be detained and threatened with several criminal charges.

Besides, the casino denied his chip cash-out appeal. Shiraef seeks $3 million compensation due to defamation, false imprisonment, and emotional distress that his unlawful detention caused.

How Are Black Hawk Casinos Fairing?

Black Hawk is Colorado's smallest city and among the increasingly popular gambling destinations in the country. Besides Gaming and Leisure Properties, the city has attracted other leading gaming operators like Saratoga Casino Holdings, Bally's Corporation, and Monarch.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.