Lawsuits Filed over 'Quick Picks' Snafu

Lawsuits Filed over 'Quick Picks' Snafu
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/Blood-Horse Publications
At least two lawsuits styled as class-action efforts have been filed in California against Scientific Games Corp. over the “quick-picks” wagering situation that came to light following the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Two California residents, Jerry Jamgotchian and Angel Romero, have filed the lawsuits in federal and state court, respectively, against Scientific Games and affiliated entities, seeking damages for the company’s part in the betting snafu. The situation surfaced after an unidentified bettor or bettors at Bay Meadows reportedly purchased 1,300 quick-pick superfecta tickets on the Derby, none of which included eventual winner Big Brown, who carried post position No. 20.

Scientific Games, which includes wagering machines and systems among its gaming products, admitted during a California Horse Racing Board investigation it was aware for several months of a glitch in its platforms that caused such omissions. The company in July settled the matter with the CHRB, in part, with payments totaling $200,000 ($150,000 of which went to charities), and a promise that the agency would not pursue criminal or further administrative actions.

Jamgotchian’s lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 5 in the U.S. District Court Central District of California, asks for damages of at least $5 million, and seeks to add others to the action. The complaint attacked another part of the Scientific Games/CHRB settlement, which said those bettors seeking refunds can do so by means of “legitimate proof, including, but not limited to a ticket stub.”

“The agreement … provided no relief to California bettors who do not have their ticket stubs … did not include any penalty for Scientific Games’ decision to continue to offer the Quick-Pick service … and allowed Scientific Games to retain all monies it received during the period the system failed…” the complaint alleged.

The filing said Jamgotchian had purchased quick-picks during the cited class-action period, which is defined as July 1, 2007 and June 2, 2008, and suggested the 1,300 tickets purchased at Bay Meadows on the Derby were actually obtained by a “group of friends” who pooled their funds.

“Indeed, if the Quick-Pick software and related computer systems had operated as represented, the number 20 should have appeared on hundreds of the 1,300 (tickets),” the complaint said.

Attempts to reach Jamgotchian, Scientific Games officials, and affiliated attorneys of the parties weren’t immediately successful. The federal lawsuit levels five counts against Scientific Games, including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and negligence.

Specific details of the Romero case weren’t immediately evident, as The Blood-Horse was unable to obtain court pleadings related to the case, nor speak with affiliated parties. But Scientific Games made note of the case (as well as the Jamgotchian lawsuit) in its most recent quarterly earnings report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We intend to seek dismissal and assert numerous affirmative defenses, which we believe are meritorious,” the filing said of the Romero case, which is scheduled for a Sept. 9 hearing, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court online docket.

The SEC filing also said Scientific Games believes the Jamgotchian lawsuit “lacks merit and intend(s) to contest it vigorously.”

The two lawsuits follow another federal case filed in California, now dismissed, involving the quick-picks situation. Class-action allegations were made in the lawsuit filed June 30 by Pomona resident Carl Woodmansee, but the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff based on the CHRB settlement, court documents say.

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