June 20, 2024 4 min read


Fact-checked by Velimir Velichkov

Lawsuit Against Casino That Withheld $3M Win Granted Leave to Appeal

The Michigan Supreme Court has decided to grant leave to appeal in a gambler’s suit against a casino online that refused to pay over $3 million in winnings

The Michigan Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal in a woman’s lawsuit against a casino’s online platform that denied the gambler over $3 million in winnings.

In 2023, a split panel at the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that, in the Davis v. BetMGM LLC case, the gambler’s fraud, conversion, and breach of contract claims against BetMGM’s online gaming site that left her account balance on zero were preempted by the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (LIGA).

Letter From the MGCB

From the letter she received from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), plaintiff Jacqueline Davis understood that the board “lacked the authority to resolve her dispute.”

However, according to Judge Mark T. Boonstra, this was not the case. “It is clear that the MGCB had the power under LIGA to investigate disputes such as plaintiff’s, to determine whether a violation of LIGA or the rules promulgated under it had occurred,” argued Boonstra. 

The judge added the MGCB also has the authority to ask for “corrective actions from an internet gaming provider,” saying the fact that the board’s refusal to “take action in plaintiff’s favor” would not alter their preemption analysis.

According to Judge Kathleen A. Feeney’s dissent, the decision taken by the majority left the plaintiff without the possibility to pursue her claim of unpaid winnings. 

Feeney added the decision gave “a new meaning to the old gambling adage that the House always wins.”

Parties Advised to Address If the Claims Are Preempted by LIGA

The justices have advised the parties to determine whether the plaintiff’s common law claims were inconsistent with and preempted by LIGA

For example, determining whether the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction or if the MGCB had jurisdiction over common law claims tied to account or contract disputes. 

If this were the case, additional assessments would be needed to establish the statutes or administrative rules governing the dispute’s resolution.

The persons or the groups that are interested in the determination of these issues are allowed to move the court for permission to file briefs amicus curiae.

Game Error Invoked

In March 2021, Davis hit a big win while engaged in the Luck O’ the Roulette game using BetMGM’s app

A couple of days later, she went to the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit and issued a withdrawal request for $100,000 of her winnings using the venue’s dedicated cashout window. 

Quickly after the withdrawal was completed, BetMGM flagged her account for unusual activity and suspended it.

This resulted in the player’s inability to play or get access to the remainder of her online account balance, around $3.2 million.

BetMGM’s investigation showed that a game error was the culprit that caused her account to be mistakenly credited. Accordingly, Davis’ account was “zeroed out.”

The following month, her attorney got in touch with BetMGM and asked for the funds to be released. 

The operator replied that Davis had not actually won the respective amount and that the balance on her account was triggered by a malfunction in their platform. In other words, they argued she was not entitled to receive the rest of the balance. 

This prompted the player to file a suit in the Wayne County Circuit Court in June of the same year 2021 against for fraud, conversion, and breach of contract.

In July 2021, Davis filed a patron dispute with the MGCB. At the same time, BetMGM filed a motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(4), arguing that since LIGA preempted the gambler’s claims, the MGCB had primary jurisdiction over the claims.

After listening to the oral arguments, the trial court granted the operator a motion for summary disposition, arguing LIGA preempted the player’s claims.

Davis’ motion for reconsideration included a partially redacted letter from the board to BetMGM’s chief executive officer, written as a response to a Freedom of Information Act request

The letter indicated Bet MGM had failed to comply with the MGCB’s regulations asking it to immediately notify the board of malfunctioning games, advise the plaintiff of her right to send a complaint, and offer specific information when prompted to do so. 

The trial court eventually denied the gambler’s motion for reconsideration, to which Davis decided to appeal.

Judge Boonstra explained the player’s common-law claims for fraud, conversion, and breach of contract were not consistent with LIGA.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.


  • Lee
    June 20, 2024 at 11:22 pm

    I have lost substantial amounts in several casinos and in return, one would expect to be compensated if he or she was to win. I Had a problem where I was not paid playing Black jack at a casino and it left a nasty remembers. ( The dealer over dealt his hand, when he should of held and management approved his mistake and we at the table where asked to leave because we expected to get paid and our attitudes. Since then my money goes on more sure things in life. As I look back I guess the casinos are losing more and more. I wonder why.

  • Money Making Mitch
    June 21, 2024 at 6:31 am

    Paid the lady her money and if the game had a malfunction. Then the casino is cheating then

  • Yolie
    June 21, 2024 at 8:50 pm

    She’s paying the casino to play those games it’s not her fault that the machines are glitching they should have still have to pay that’s not good business mg

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