It appears lawyers for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa want another shot at proving Phil Ivey and colleague Cheung Yin Sun were guilty of fraud and various RICO violations when they fleeced the Atlantic City, New Jersey casino out of almost $10 million in 2012.
Should they prove successful, it could entitle Borgata to almost triple the $10.1 million District Court Judge Noel Hillman already awarded the casino in 2016.
The latest move by Borgata’s legal team was to file a cross-appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week. The cross-appeal asks the higher court to examine all New Jersey District Court rulings that went against Borgata in the original case.
Of course, this includes Judge Hillman’s decision that while Ivey and Sun were guilty of breach of contract in the case, they did not commit fraud or violate state and federal RICO laws. Borgata’s original fraud and RICO violation claims could have entitled the casino to Treble Damages, thereby allowing the court to triple the $9.6 million in damages Borgata sought.
Meanwhile, Ivey and Sun are appealing the decision themselves. Although Judge Hillman decided in late August it will cost them.
Judge Hillman denied the pair’s motion to stay the $10.1 million judgment against them. This essentially means Ivey and Sun can’t appeal without posting a bond or paying Borgata back.
Lawyers for the pair asked the court to delay enforcement of the judgment. They claimed that forcing Ivey and Sun to pay would damage the pair’s ability to gamble professionally.
However, Borgata argued even if he is forced to pay, Ivey can still play poker. The casino said he could still play poker tournaments with buy-ins under $10,000. Or, deposit as little as $100 in an online poker account.
Ultimately, Judge Hillman ruled for Borgata. He said Ivey and Sun failed to prove paying the judgement will threaten their ability to gamble.
Ivey and Sun edge sorting
The case surrounds Ivey and Sun employing a technique called edge sorting to play high stakes Baccarat in 2012.
Ivey and Sun beat London’s Crockfords casino out of £7.7 million using the technique. Plus, they took Borgata for $9.6 million. Edge sorting involves using cards with flaws in the patterns on the back. This allows anyone familiar with the flaws to determine the value of the cards before turning them over.
Ivey and Sun admitted to using the technique. Plus, they said they convinced both casinos to use cards that allowed them to employ it. At issue seemed to be whether edge sorting should be considered cheating. Or, is it simply advantage play employed by gamblers seeking an edge.
Crockfords never paid out the money Ivey and Sun won. The pair sued to try to recover it. However, they exhausted all appeals trying to overturn a decision declaring edge sorting cheating and allowing Crockfords to keep its money.
Borgata lawyers confident
The appeals process continues back in the US. However, Borgata can now try to collect on the original judgment. Plus, its legal team is confident the appellate court will never overturn it.
In fact, Borgata’s lawyers say less than 15 percent of private civil cases were overturned between 2011 and 2015. A number that makes Ivey and Sun big underdogs. Plus, the pair is now facing the possibility things could get even more expensive going forward.