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Law School Case Brief

Uston v. Resorts Int'l Hotel, Inc. - 89 N.J. 163, 445 A.2d 370 (1982)


When property owners open their premises to the general public in the pursuit of their own property interests, they have no right to exclude people unreasonably. On the contrary, they have a duty not to act in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner toward persons who come on their premises. That duty applies not only to common carriers, innkeepers, owners of gasoline service stations, or to private hospitals but to all property owners who open their premises to the public. 


Appellant casino excluded appellee card counter from its casino and the Casino Control Commission upheld that decision on the ground that appellant had a common law right to exclude from its premises anyone it chose, so long as to do so was not in violation of the law. The appellate court reversed this decision and the court affirmed the appellate court's holding that the Casino Control Act (the act), N. J. Stat. Ann. §§ 5:12-1 to 152 kept appellant from barring appellee from its casino. The act prevailed over any other provision of law in conflict or inconsistent with its provisions under N. J. Stat. Ann. § 5:12-133(b), and thus, prevailed over the common law rule.


Did appellant casino have the authority to exclude appellee?




The act gave sole command to the commission to regulate gambling to assure the vitality of casino operations and fair odds to and maximum participation by casino patrons. N. J. Stat. Ann. § 5:12-100(e). It alone had the authority to exclude patrons based upon their strategies for playing licensed casino games or to change the rules of blackjack. Appellee had not violated any commission rule. N. J. Admin. Code tit. 19, §§ 47-2.1 to 2.13, nor disrupted the functioning of any casino operations.

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