All Eyes Are On Alleged AC Casino Hotel Price-Fixing Scheme

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All Eyes Are On Alleged AC Casino Hotel Price-Fixing Scheme

Following the civil lawsuit against a group of Atlantic City casinos accused of inflating hotel prices, we may see some answers after a similar case in Nevada was recently dismissed. 

Last month, a judge dismissed a civil case in Las Vegas against a group of casinos for allegedly sharing pricing information through a third-party platform to charge higher rates. 

Now, some are comparing the ongoing case in New Jersey to it. 

As a reminder, this case started as three separate complaints, but Judge Karen Williams merged them into one suit. 

The case is Altman et al. v. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. et al., Williams. While there’s no actual timeline, a decision is expected within the next several weeks. 

The complaint against these Atlantic City casinos alleges collusion that dates back to 2018. The suit alleges that Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, and Hard Rock International, (brands which also own prominent NJ online casinos) along with their Atlantic City branches, “conspired” to share more using a shared price-fixing algorithm. 

Bally’s Atlantic City is also cited as a Caesars Entertainment-run location until 2020. 

The suit alleges that Cendyn Group, a Florida-based company that provides hotel room booking software, was involved in the price-fixing. 

Per financial data, the Atlantic City locations have controlled upward of 80% of the market since June 2018.

The plaintiffs in the case are seeking an unspecified compensatory amount and triple damages. They also want a jury trial. 

There was some interesting “support” for the plaintiffs after the Federal Trade Commission and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest. They also said that the casino hotels may have broken antitrust laws. The FTC and DOJ also said that even if they didn’t directly communicate, using an algorithm together to set a starting price for rooms and packages still violates antitrust. 

To note: The Las Vegas case was dismissed by Chief US District Court Judge Miranda Du because the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the price fixing.

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