Law School Case Brief
Gottlieb v. Tropicana Hotel & Casino - 109 F. Supp. 2d 324 (E.D. Pa. 2000)
The Pennsylvania Unfair Trace Practices and Consumer Protection Law (Law), 73 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 201-1 et seq., provides a private right of action for any person who purchases or leases goods or services primarily for personal, family or household purposes and thereby suffers any ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by any person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by § 3, 73 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 201-9.2(a), of the Law.
Plaintiffs Rena and Sheldon Gottlieb claim that they won $1 million at defendant Tropicana Casino , and that defendant Tropicana won't pay. Tropicana operates a gambling casino in Atlantic City, offers people membership in its "Diamond Club." In order to become a Diamond Club member, an individual must visit a promotional booth in the casino, obtain and fill out an application form, and show identification. There is no charge. Plaintiff’s are Diamond Club Members. Ms. Gottlieb joined the promotional game and contended that the wheel landed on the $1 million grand prize, but that when it did so, the casino attendant immediately swiped another card through the machine, reactivated the wheel, and then the wheel landed on a prize of two show tickets. Tropicana avers that the wheel simply landed on the lesser prize. Tropicana argued that under New Jersey law that participation in a promotion such as the Million Dollar Wheel cannot constitute consideration that would support the formation of an enforceable contract.
Did plaintiff’s participation in a promotion such as the Million Dollar Wheel constitute consideration that would support the formation of an enforceable contract?
The court dismissed the claim as to plaintiff husband because it was plaintiff wife that participated in the game. As to plaintiff wife, there was adequate consideration to form a contract between her and defendant. Plaintiff wife participated in defendant's promotion, and did what was required by defendant in order to have a chance to win the prize. Ms. Gottlieb had to go to the casino to participate in the promotion. She had to wait in line to spin the wheel. By presenting her Diamond Club card to the casino attendant and allowing it to be swiped into the casino's machine, she was permitting the casino to gather information about her gambling habits. Additionally, by participating in the game, she was a part of the entertainment that casinos, by their very nature, are designed to offer to all of those present. All of these detriments to Ms. Gottlieb were "the requested detriment[s] to the promisee induced by the promise" of Tropicana to offer her a chance to win $1 million. Tropicana's motives in offering the promotion were "in nowise altruistic." It offered the promotion in order to generate patronage of and excitement within the casino. In short, Ms. Gottlieb provided adequate consideration to form a contract with Tropicana.
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