Widow Sues Casino for Husband’s Suicide

The wife of a recently deceased West Virginia man has filed suit against Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, claiming that her husband’s gambling addiction caused him to commit suicide.

Stacy Stevens alleges her husband, Scott Stevens, shot himself on August 13, 2012, after he drained his family’s savings accounts to feed his gambling habit.

Scott Stevens had become addicted to slot machines and embezzled more than $7 million from the company where he was CFO. He 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 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, for manufacturing 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 so, according to the complaint.

IGT 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 may encourage customers to become addicted to them.

In her complaint, Stacy Stevens seeks compensatory damages, plus costs. She also is seeking punitive damages.

She is being represented by James G. Bordas Jr. of Bordas & Bordas in Wheeling.