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High roller offers $500K reward, says he was drugged while gambling

Updated October 12, 2023 - 4:08 pm

A California real estate executive and sports agent who has high-roller status with MGM Resorts International has sued the company after he says he was drugged with a substance used by veterinarians to sedate animals while playing blackjack in the MGM Grand’s private gambling salon.

Dwight Manley, 57, who filed the amended complaint in July, on Thursday offered a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for drugging him.

He said that while he was under the influence of the drug, he was extended credit markers totalling $3 million and was allowed to continue playing.

Manley has established a website explaining conditions of the reward and an email address for tips leading to an arrest and conviction.

MGM Resorts had no comment on the lawsuit, which was amended July 7 in U.S. District Court in Nevada.

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 in December.

In the lawsuit, he said he, his girlfriend and three friends were flown to Las Vegas in a company plane and given luxury car transport from the airport and stayed at the MGM Mansion beginning Dec. 10, 2021, to play table games and in a poker tournament.

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.”

At around 4 p.m., while playing, he shattered an ashtray, cut his hand and bled on the table felt. He said he didn’t recall cutting his hand and did not know he was bleeding.

Manley said MGM personnel moved him to a different blackjack table but didn’t call for medical assistance, giving his friends Band-Aids for his cut hand.

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. Manley said he had no recollection of extending his credit play.

After considering going to a different casino at 4:45 p.m., Manley’s friends instead took him to his villa because he was so disoriented that he couldn’t stand or walk without assistance.

He collapsed in his room at 5:15 p.m. The next day, he said he felt nauseous and groggy and had no recollection of the events of the previous day.

Manley texted his host and said he suspected his drink had been spiked and when he returned to California, he sought medical help. His doctors ordered him to grow out his hair so that it could be analyzed. The 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.

Manley filed his initial lawsuit Nov. 10, 2022. The five-count lawsuit seeking declarative relief accused MGM of negligence, unfair or deceptive trade practices, unjust enrichment and breach of implied covenant.

After MGM attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, the amended complaint was filed July 7.

Manley seeks unspecified damages in excess of $75,000.

He hired a private investigator to try to find out who was responsible for drugging him.

The latest twist in the incident was Manley’s Thursday announcement about a $500,000 award to persons who provide information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Further information is available at www.Reward4InfoCasinoDrugging.com and tips can be emailed to info@debeckerinvestigations.com.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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