October 6, 2023 3 min read


Judge Rejects Reconsideration Motion in Lawsuit against Ameristar Casino

In October 2021, the player faced difficulties cashing out his winnings because he was accused of card counting

In a significant turn of events in the ongoing legal battle between Joseph Shiraef, a skilled card counter from Georgia, and Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk, a judge recently dismissed a motion to reconsider Shiraef’s case. The lawsuit, filed in August, alleges that Shiraef was unlawfully detained by the casino staff and subsequently confronted by the Colorado Gaming Commission for his legal card-counting activities.

Cell Phone Footage Becomes Key Evidence in Ameristar Casino Case

The dismissal of the reconsideration motion occurred on October 4, marking a crucial development in the case. Legal experts speculate that this decision might indicate a challenging road ahead for the defendants, particularly Ameristar Casino and former Colorado Gaming Commission agent, Joseph Nguyen.

At the heart of the matter is a cell phone video recorded by Shiraef during the incident, providing a firsthand account of the events that transpired on that fateful day, reported Fox affiliate KDVR. In the video, Nguyen can be heard wrongly asserting that card counting, a legal practice in Colorado, was a criminal offense. This video evidence has become a focal point in the case, underscoring Shiraef’s claims of unjust treatment and legal harassment.

A representative from the Department of Revenue has indeed confirmed that card counting in Colorado is permissible as long as players rely on their own mental skills and do not use external aids or devices.

Shiraef’s lawsuit seeks approximately $3 million in damages, reflecting the financial and emotional toll the incident took on him. Legal experts opine that the dismissal of the reconsideration motion might embolden Shiraef’s legal team, potentially strengthening their case against Ameristar Casino and Nguyen.

Shiraef’s Card Counting Dispute Challenges Casino’s Actions

The incident occurred in October 2021 when Joseph Shiraef was unable to cash out his winnings due to accusations of card counting. As there are no laws against card counting in Colorado, Shiraef claimed his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. 

In the legal action, Joseph Shiraef named Ameristar Casino Black Hawk, its parent company Gaming and Leisure Properties, Joseph Nguyen, the City of Black Hawk, and Whitman as defendants for his alleged unlawful detainment. 

However, a federal judge recently granted motions to dismiss claims against Ameristar’s parent company, the city, and Whitman. The judge allowed certain claims to proceed against the casino and Nguyen, who is no longer associated with the Department of Revenue.

Shiraef’s attorney subsequently submitted a motion requesting the judge to review the dismissals and reinstate claims against all the initial parties involved but that was also dismissed.

At the same time, Daniel Carr, a Department of Revenue spokesman, stated in an email that the gaming officer diligently investigated the incident to ensure Colorado Rules were not violated after the patron left hurriedly, refusing to comply with ID requirements and displaying suspicious behavior.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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