Horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian, dissatisfied with a California federal court judge's decision to dismiss his lawsuit against Scientific Games over the "quick pick" wagering snafu that came to light last spring, has taken his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The action was filed Nov. 17 in the Ninth U.S. District by attorney Robert Goodin on behalf of Jamgotchian.
U.S. District Judge George H. King dismissed the case Oct. 22, concurring with Scientific Games that case law prevents lawsuits by bettors attempting to collect lost wagers.
Jamgotchian contends that King, in granting the dismissal, did not understand that his claim was not related to a gambling loss. Instead it was aimed at "fraud" perpetuated by Scientific Games when it accepted quick pick wagers with knowledge that the company's BetJets terminals had a glitch that automatically eliminated the last number of a race's field in its random sequence, he said.
The defect was disclosed after a bettor at Bay Meadows purchased 1,300 $1 superfecta quick pick tickets on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and later realized that the number of the winner, Big Brown, who broke from the outside post 20, was not included on any leg of the tickets. Jamgotchian believes that Scientific Games violated its contract to accept wagers on behalf of the California pari-mutuel system.
"It's clear to me and my legal counsel that the judge cannot distinguish between a contract and a wager," Jamgotchian said Nov. 20. "Scientific Games admitted that it had committed a fraud."
In his original complaint, which was filed as a class action, Jamgotchian charged Scientific Games with breach of contract, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and negligence.
The attorney who represented Scientific Games attorney in the dismissal motion disagreed with the appeal's basis.
"That's simply wrong," said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., referring to the fraud allegation.
He said, "Scientific Games acted just the way the betting public would have wanted it to. After it learned of the problem, the company moved quickly to fix it and took all the necessary actions to protect the interest of the public.
"The district judge got it exactly right," Boutrous said. "California law is clear on this."