So far, U.S. courts consistently have rejected arguments that casinos are liable for the behavior of addicted patrons. But some attorneys trying to take on gambling companies say that if behavioral tracking truly can identify potential problem gamblers, the legal tide could turn, similar to the way bar owners have been found partly at fault for serving visibly intoxicated patrons who cause drunken-driving accidents.
“It would be a theory of negligence, the duty of care argument,” says Richard Daynard, a Northeastern University law professor who is advising some lawyers on possible litigation against casinos.
For their part, casinos have tried to address gambling addiction by devoting millions of dollars to fund various research projects. Many have instituted limited efforts to address the issue on their properties, including looking for outward signs of distress and allowing patrons to ask the casino to bar them.