Dealing a Duty: Why Casino Markers Should Establish a Legal Duty of Care to Patrons

17 Pages Posted: 2 May 2017

See all articles by Davis Vaughn

Davis Vaughn

University of Mississippi, School of Law

Date Written: April 2017


Despite using markers, courts have recently held that casinos owe no legal duty to these patrons. In dismissing a duty, courts rely heavily on state self-exclusion statutes, which require compulsive gamblers to enroll on a list where they are prohibited from entering a casino. These self-exclusion states, however, are largely unsuccessful and ultimately do very little to help stifle compulsive gambling, especially the use of markers and compulsive gambling. I argue that casinos who use markers should owe a legal duty of care to those patrons to decrease problem and compulsive gamblers. In support of this conclusion, I discuss the legal, economic, and societal advantages of establishing this new duty. Casinos could ultimately be found legally responsible for a breach of a duty of care, which would result in casinos suffering litigation exposure and potential economic loses. If markers then become less popular, problem gambling and the negative societal implications would decrease. This article fills the scholarly gap in gaming law academic literature concerning markers and compulsive gambling. Additionally, this article analyzes the recent West Virginia Supreme Court case Stevens v. MTR Gaming Corp., in which a casino was held to have no legal duty of care to a patron who ultimately committed suicide because of his gambling addiction. Through a fresh analysis of recent cases, my article could provide courts and legislatures with a better solution to solving compulsive and problem gambling.

Suggested Citation

Vaughn, Davis, Dealing a Duty: Why Casino Markers Should Establish a Legal Duty of Care to Patrons (April 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Davis Vaughn (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi, School of Law ( email )

MS 38677
United States

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