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High roller offers $1M reward for info on alleged drugging at Vegas casino

A California high roller who says he was drugged while playing blackjack in a private Strip gaming salon has doubled a reward to $1 million for information leading to an arrest.

Dwight Manley, a California real estate executive and sports agent with high-roller status at MGM Resorts International, sued the company after he says he was drugged with ketamine while playing in a high-limit area at MGM Grand in December 2021.

The suit, first filed in the U.S. District Court in Nevada in November 2022 and amended in March, alleges while he was under the influence of the drug, he was extended credit markers totalling $3.5 million and was allowed to continue playing.

Manley began his public campaign for information with a $500,000 reward in October 2023 while working with lawyers and private investigators, according to a Tuesday news release announcing the new reward. He’s also deployed a billboard campaign in Las Vegas.

“Any tip is worth looking at,” Manley said in the release. “Someone knows who did this and we want to keep it from happening again. I could have died.”

According to the lawsuit, Manley, a longtime VIP player from Brea, California, received an invitation in November 2021 from his casino host to come to Las Vegas the next month to play table games and in a poker tournament. The company provided a plane and luxury car transport for his stay at the MGM Mansion beginning Dec. 10, 2021.

Manley said in the lawsuit that he entered the MGM Mansion high-limit gaming salon at around 1:45 p.m. and ordered an old fashioned. But when he received the drink, he said it tasted bitter.

He finished the drink at around 2:21 p.m., and friends ordered another. But after consuming the drink, Manley said he felt disoriented and “out of it.” By about 4 p.m., while playing, he shattered an ashtray, cut his hand and bled on the table felt. Manley said he didn’t remember cutting his hand and didn’t know he was bleeding.

Manley claims he continued to play and while gambling was given three separate applications for a temporary increase in his credit limit maximum, despite his casino host saying he was acting “erratically.” The three “this trip only” credit extensions boosted his limit to $3.5 million — two in the span of about 10 minutes. Manley said he had no recollection of extending his credit play.

At 4:45 p.m., Manley’s friends took him to his villa because he was so disoriented that he couldn’t stand or walk without assistance instead of going to another casino as planned, according to the suit. He went to sleep and texted his casino host the next day with his suspicion that his drink was “spiked.”

When Manley returned to California, he sought medical help. His complaint asserts a hair analysis determined that he had ketamine, a dissociative anesthesia drug that can cause sedation, reduced sensation of pain, short-term memory loss, incapacitation and hallucinations, in his system.

He told MGM he did not believe he should have been held responsible for the credit markers he signed.

MGM representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a motion to dismiss filed on April 4, MGM lawyers say Manley cut his hand during the excitement of play, and that the group continued their stay through Dec. 12 as planned.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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