Court: Indiana Casino Can't Ban Blackjack Card Counter

Ruling Says Indiana Law Doesn't Prohibit Gambling Practice

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a casino had no legal right to ban a blackjack player who admitted counting cards to gain a competitive advantage.

Thomas Donovan sued the Grand Victoria Casino and Resort after he was banned from the facility in Rising Sun in August 2006.

Donovan admitted to casino officials that he counted cards, a practice in which a player keeps mental track of the cards already played during the game to adjust his wagers and improve his odds of winning additional money.

The appeals court ruled that the casino had no legal right to ban Donovan, since no Indiana law or gaming regulation prohibits card counting.

The three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling also rejected the casino’s claim that it has the right to exclude any patron it chooses. The judges said the state’s "comprehensive scheme for regulating riverboat gambling" overrides the common law practice that allows the owner of a business to exclude any person he chooses.

Ernie Yelton, the executive director of the Indiana Gaming Commission, told 6News Friday that the commission's legal staff was reviewing the ruling, and that the commission would "examine, evaluate, and discuss all available options" regarding card counting.

More Info: Full Ruling