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"The casinos obviously have tremendous incentive," said Tym S. MacLeod, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers. "This is not a case about collecting gambling losses back; this is a case about putting a stop to the deceptive advertising."
Jackpot poker was first deemed an illegal lottery in a 1989 attorney general opinion that was upheld by an appeals court in Los Angeles. The casinos have been offering the promotion as no-purchase-necessary since the 1995 appeals court decision, said I. Nelson Rose, a Whittier Law School professor and author of the book "Gambling and the Law."
"I think it's basically a screw-up by a couple of employees," Rose said. "I can't see the suit really amounting to much."
Poker player David Kullmann said he hoped Chae and Kim succeed, because the $1-per-pot collection cuts into his potential profit. The jackpot fees are in addition to a "rake" of at least $3 a pot that casinos collect to cover operating expenses.
The Westchester man said he typically plays a $200-buy-in game of no-limit Texas Hold 'Em at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood. He said he had played thousands of hands without hitting a jackpot.
"It's a tax. I don't like it," Kullmann said. "If you play 30 hands an hour, that's $30 an hour that's being taken off the table that you can't win."
Kelegian said the jackpots are extremely popular among players at his casino, commonly known as "the Bike."
"People don't complain. They want it because we do all the work: We accumulate all the money. We take care of it," he said. "It's like found money. . . . You hit a certain hand, you win a jackpot."