Widow says man's gambling addiction led to suicide, sues casino

By Kelly Holleran | Sep 17, 2014

WHEELING – The wife of a recently deceased man has filed suit against Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, saying her husband's gambling addiction caused him to commit suicide.

Stacy Stevens alleges her husband, Scott Stevens, used a gun from his hunting bag to kill himself Aug. 13, 2012, after he drained his family's savings and 401(k) accounts to feed his gambling habit.

Scott Stevens had become addicted to slot machines and he embezzled more than $7 million from the company where he was CFO and was fired when he confessed to taking the money, according to the complaint filed Aug. 7 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

After he was fired, Scott Stevens continued to gamble, visiting Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland nearly every day for 10 months, the suit states. Over the course of time, Scott Stevens emptied his family's savings, 401(k) account and his children's college funds, the complaint says.

On Aug. 13, 2012, Scott Stevens withdrew the last of the family's 401(k) account and visited the slots. Later that day, at a local park that Stevens helped develop, he called 911 then pulled the trigger of his gun when police arrived, his wife alleges.

"Cases like this, where patrons become addicted to slot machines, embezzle, face imprisonment, and commit suicide, are familiar occurrences to the gambling industry," the suit states.

In addition to Mountaineer Casino, Stacy Stevens names IGT as a defendant, saying it manufactured the slot machines that her husband used.

Mountaineer Casino breached its duty of care to Scott Stevens by failing to deny him access to its casino when it knew it should have done and by failing to ban him from its casino, according to the complaint.

IGT also is blamed for defective product design. Stacy Stevens says the company defectively designed slot machines that were an interactive force that "eroded players' capacity to make reasoned decisions" and designed machines that were not safe and that may allow customers to become addicted to them.

In her complaint, Stacy Stevens seeks compensatory damages, plus costs and other relief the court deems just. She also is seeking punitive damages.

James G. Bordas Jr. of Bordas & Bordas in Wheeling is representing her.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 5:14-cv-104

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