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Rod Smith
 

Park Place May Ask Board, Court to Hear Case

1 October 2003

LAS VEGAS -- Park Place Entertainment Corp. is expected to argue Friday that a high roller's fraud lawsuit should be heard by the state Supreme Court and referred to the state Gaming Control Board.

"We've asked the judge who dismissed the original verdict to send the case to the Supreme Court to make a legal decision to determine if the case should first have been heard by the Nevada Gaming Control Board before Mr. (Steven) Mattes was allowed to sue," Park Place spokesman Robert Stewart said.

U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan, who will hear arguments Friday, in April ordered a new trial in the case of a California gambler who claimed he was defrauded by Paris Las Vegas during a 1999 visit.

Mattes, a Tarzana, Calif., gambler was awarded $8 million by a federal jury in November.

Mahan ordered the new trial in April after finding the original verdict was flawed, internally inconsistent and, in part, not supported by evidence introduced at trial.

Subsequently, Mattes sued in District Court, and Park Place asked Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass to dismiss or stay the case.

On Monday, she dismissed state Gaming Control Board regulators and Deloitte & Touche from the case. She also stayed action against other defendants pending action in the federal case Mahan will hear Friday.

Keith Kizer, the chief deputy attorney general for the Gaming Division, said the issue before the courts now is whether or not Mattes' complaint is a "patron dispute" which should be considered by the Control Board rather than the courts.

Patron disputes are narrowly defined and include only complaints over winnings, losses or how a game was played, he said.

"It's hard to know (whether or not it is a patron dispute)," Kizer said, because the issue arose in state court as the case evolved and the facts have not yet been presented to the Control Board.

"I guess it'll be clear if the Supreme Court rules," he said.

During the original trial, Mattes' lawyer, Kevin Mirch, charged that Paris Las Vegas fraudulently created bogus markers, inflated the gambler's losses, and failed to provide Mattes with an agreed-upon $2 million credit line after he lost millions gambling with his own money.

Park Place lawyers argued that Mattes was an experienced gambler who, after losing a substantial amount of money gambling at Paris Las Vegas during the megaresort's September 1999 opening, decided to win back in court what he lost at the tables.