The Bear Growls: Aquarius Laughlin sportsbook accused of cheating patron

Aquarius Casino in Laughlin

Originally posted on Green Chip, posted here with permission.  An account of this incident also appears on, along with photos of the tickets referred to in the Gaming complaint.

Following is a copy of a Gaming complaint filed by Bob Nersesian. I have edited out the names of the patron and the casino employees. This is posted with the permission of the patron.


October 14, 2008


Nevada Gaming Control Board
Attention: Enforcement Division
555 East Washington Avenue
Suite 2600
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Re: (name of patron) v. Aquarius


Please accept this correspondence as a request for the initiation of a patron dispute pursuant to NRS 463.361, et seq. My client is (name of patron), and the gaming licensee on the other side is the Aquarius in Laughlin, Nevada. The patron has retained me to represent him throughout this process, and all correspondence and inquiry should proceed through this office.

Together with this request is a report of an unsuitable practice, a report of cheating by the casino, and a request that this crime by the casino and the unsuitable practice also be addressed and appropriate sanctions be applied against the licensee.

The facts giving rise to this dispute are as follows. On October 5, the patron was at the Aquarius and placed the sports bets attached as Exhibit 1. The ticket attached as Exhibit 2 was also written at this time. As you can see by Exhibit 1, the patron was placing straight bets on NFL games for the very same day. His bets are of an amount requiring approval by the Aquarius, and while the bets are placed this approval is given by a director or manager at Aquarius sports book.

The patron was at the window to place his bets. Also, because Aquarius still uses a written odds board, numbers on the board will often vary from the available bets at the ticket machines. Thus, prior to each bet placed, the odds are confirmed verbally by the ticket writer, and the patron decision as to whether or not to place the bet is then communicated. As you can see, all four bets were made on a single window visit and were issued between 9:56:18 and 10:01:27 a.m. These bets were all made at window # W000406, and the patron recalls the ticket writer as possibly named (deleted). The person approving the patron’s bets was (name of sportsbook manager). (see Exhibit 2).

As the patron went through and made his bets, the bets communicated to Aquarius, in the order communicated, were, as follows:

1. Bengals $2200
2. Texans $3300
3. Buccaneers $2200
4. Steelers $500

As you can see from the timing on the tickets, the patron had also made various inquiries about other possible bets which, when provided the current information on them, he rejected. The line behind him was becoming pressing as it was also approaching (or even passing) the start of some games. As the last ticket was written, and he was handed the tickets, by the sportsbook manager’s request he stepped aside and allowed the next customer to approach the window as the time was tight to get bets down. The sportsbook manager turned to leave.

As the patron reviewed his tickets, proximate to the window, he noted the ticket attached as Exhibit 2 was a parlay bet. It appears that as the patron declined an interim offered bet when the writer conveyed the then line, rather than hitting the clear button on the declined bet, the parlay key was inadvertently struck. Thus, his next bet, which was to be Buccaneers at $2200, was printed with the prior declined bet as a parlay. This resulted in the ticket attached as Exhibit 2.

The patron immediately got the sportsbook manager back to the window. The patron showed the sportsbook manager the error, and asked him to void the ticket. The sportsbook manager also personally knew that this ticket was in error as he had personally approved the single Buccaneers bet, and it was not in the package.

The sportsbook manager took the ticket from the patron and went to the back room of the sportsbook stating he would be right back. The patron assumed that he was voiding the erroneous ticket as requested. After about ten minutes, the sportsbook manager returned and stated to the patron, “The Bears are about to score. I cannot void this ticket.” I would also point out that Aquarius has likely never issued a $2200 parlay, and that at the time the ticket was requested to be cancelled due to the error of the ticket writer, the game had not started or progressed in any fashion whatsoever. Further, with the -110 on the Buccaneers, the sum bet clearly reflects a desire to play to a $2000 win; something that is antithetical to a parlay bet.

When the sportsbook manager informed the patron that they Aquarius would not void the ticket, the patron requested that the sportsbook manager contact the Gaming Control Board. The sportsbook manager expressly refused. Also of import, after having cheated the patron out of the money, the sportsbook manager then barred him from placing bets in the Aquarius sports book. This reflects poorly on the repute of the state.

The sportsbook manager, and thereby the Aquarius, committed the following unsuitable practices:

1. Not correcting an error proximately brought to their attention (note, had they done so the voided bet would have not affected any outcome and been no win or loss for either the casino or the patron);

2. Cheating through past posting. The sportsbook manager waited until he found out whether Exhibit B was more likely a winner or a loser before making a decision on the patron’s request to void the ticket. NRS 465.070.5

3. The barring of the patron in this circumstance constitutes an unsuitable practice reflecting poorly on the repute of the State. NGCBR 5.011.1

4. The refusal to call the Gaming Control Board violates statutory requirements. NRS.463.362(4).

At this point, the patron is requesting the return of the $2200 bet on Exhibit 2, or the amount the ticket should have realized, $4200. Additionally, punitive damages are requested for the fraud, malice and oppression foisted upon the patron by the Aquarius as well as attorneys fees and interest from the date of the bet.

Please call with any questions or comments, and provide updates on the investigation of this matter to me. If, in your investigation, you wish to interview the patron personally, please contact me to arrange the same. Thank you for your attention.

Very truly yours,

Nersesian & Sankiewicz

Robert A. Nersesian




  1. They issued a ticket in error and the customer noted it quite promptly and immediately spoke to the clerk who issued it and to the supervisor who had approved it each of whom knew he had just purchased the tickets moments before.
    Any attempt by the sportsbook to go see what is to their advantage is improper. The ONLY thing to their advantage is to issue the ticket properly no matter what has happened in the intervening few moments.

  2. Oh, I admit that things can change in an instant, but if a ticket is sold and then the horse race begins its clear that the computer system would not allow a ticket change to occur but thats what the clerk and supervisor are for: “we acknowledge our error, the ticket you wanted was SuchNSuch and that is what we will honor and ALL that we will honor”. Its sort of similar to a gambler putting a very large chip on the line by mistake, the dealer will call out as the dice are rolling ‘line bet booked to table limits only, overage will be returned’. He is acknowledging the error and emphasizing that there has been no waiver of table limits, the player simply appears to have miscounted the chips in his bet. In the Aquarius Sports Book incident under discussion things might well have been different if the player had delayed longr or sought out a different clerk or dealt with a different supervisor who was unaware of the correctly-ordered transaction. However, its clear that the clerk and the supervisor knew there had been a mistake, knew it was the sportsbook’s mistake, knew it was solely the sportsbook’s mistake, knew it was being brought to their attention in a prompt manner … and then tried to hem and haw while figuring out what was “good for their bottom line” on that ticket. Well, the employees should know that what is good for their bottom line is to Book Their Bets in a clear and correct fashion and once a bet is booked HONOR it! That is what is good for a sports book’s bottom line! Not sneaking into the back room and watching the game to see how valuable the ticket is. The Desired Bet was known, the Book issued an incorrect ticket, the Book has to honor the customer’s intended bet, not their erroneous ticket. Sure, the game is on, the dice are rolling, the horses are rounding the three-quarter pole, … etc. etc. Its not as if the clerk and supervisor have memory problems. The craps shooter who calls out a bet and has it booked will win or lose and will do it on the honor of the casino employees to be truthful as to what was said.

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