Casinos, Loser of $1 Million Settle Suit

From Associated Press

An Encinitas man who claimed he was plied with drinks while he gambled away more than $1 million has reached an undisclosed settlement with two Las Vegas casinos.

Stephen Roel, 54, filed a federal lawsuit in January, accusing the Las Vegas Hilton and the Mandalay Bay Resort of capitalizing on his alcoholism last fall by serving him alcohol while he was drunk and loaning him money to wager.

His lawsuit was a response to a lawsuit Hilton filed in December to recover $300,000 that Roel borrowed and lost during a three-day binge.

Roel, who is president of Roel Construction Inc., and the casinos reached settlements on both cases this spring, but no details were filed with the court.

Roel and his attorneys have declined to comment on the settlements.

In court documents, Roel said he called the Hilton from San Diego in late September and asked for the casino's private plane to retrieve him. Roel had been gambling regularly at the Hilton for 15 years and had established a $50,000 credit line at the casino.

"Roel was visibly intoxicated when he arrived at the Hilton," his lawyers said in court papers. He promptly lost $117,000 in cash at a blackjack table.

"He then proceeded to consume additional alcoholic beverages and wager in an irrational, erratic manner, which was inconsistent with his gaming profile," court documents said. "While wagering in the casino, Roel was loud, abusive and his speech was slurred."

Roel was allowed to sign markers authorizing the Hilton to withdraw $839,000 from his bank accounts.

A Mandalay Bay representative who was at the Hilton encouraged him to switch casinos. He continued to drink and gamble at Mandalay Bay even after his wife and sister arrived from San Diego to retrieve him, his lawyers said.

Roel's lawyers said he lost several hundred thousand dollars at Mandalay Bay and had $100,000 in overdue markers. Mandalay Bay did not file a federal suit seeking repayment.

Roel said in his lawsuit that he entered an inpatient treatment program for alcoholism after the bender.

Nevada gambling rules prohibit serving alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated or allowing such a person to gamble.

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