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Man who lost $500K in Las Vegas while blackout drunk speaks out

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Man who lost $500K in Las Vegas while blackout drunk speaks out

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Mar 7, 2014

A retired California man, who is a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, has filed a lawsuit against one of the newest casinos in town because of a $500,000 gambling debt.

The man says he lost the money when he was blackout drunk during Super Bowl weekend and now he doesn't want to pay it back.

Mark Johnston says his last visit to Las Vegas took a terrible turn when he visited the Downtown Grand.

Johnston flew to Las Vegas on Jan. 30 and started drinking even before he got on the plane in Burbank, Calif. He then had another drink while on the flight.

His lawyer, Sean Lyttle, claims witnesses who were at dinner with Johnston that night at the Downtown Grand say he was clearly intoxicated by the time dinner was over.

According to court documents, another witness observed Johnston at a Pai Gow table between 10 and 11 p.m. At that point, Johnston was dropping chips on the floor, confusing chip colors, unable to read his cards and slurring his speech.

He allegedly needed assistance from other players to even participate in the game.

During that time, the Downtown Grand provided Johnston with $500K in four markers. He lost it all. And not just the money, he doesn't even remember what happened.

Johnston says that he is the victim of an old-time hustle. He says that employees knowingly plied him with liquor so that he would continue gambling.

Johnston says he had about 20 drinks in a 17-hour time period at the hotel-casino and that he had 10 drinks before he even stepped foot into the Downtown Grand.

It is against the law in Nevada to allow a clearly intoxicated person to gamble, and that is the basis of the lawsuit.

The suit also claims Johnston was assured a 20 percent discount on his casino credit and he had until March 31 to pay. The casino is reportedly counter-suing Johnston for not paying.

Action News in Las Vegas contacted the Downtown Grand for a comment and were told that they would not be commenting on pending litigation.

The state Gaming Control Board is investigating.