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Casino must pay $1.7 million for rigged tournament

Visitors enter the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Getty Images
Visitors enter the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.

A New Jersey casino is reimbursing players in a poker tournament that was suspended after counterfeit chips were discovered.

More than 2,100 entrants who finished outside the top 450 and played in the same room as the North Carolina man who is accused of introducing the fake chips will get $560, including a refund of their $60 entry fees from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

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The top 27 players are to share the remaining prize money, which comes to $19,323 each.

All entrants will get back their $60 fee under the deal, which was ordered by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

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Between fees refunds and prizes, the casino is to pay out $1.7 million.

Karl Gehring | Getty Images

The Borgata enhanced security and introduced more intricate chips for its poker tournament last week.

Christan Lusardi of Fayetteville, N.C., was charged with theft and rigging a public contest after the January tournament was suspended over the fake chips.

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Authorities said Lusardi, suspecting his fake chips had been noticed, flushed them down the toilet in his hotel room at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, where he had been staying. But the chips clogged the pipes, and guests on the floor below complained that water was dripping into their rooms.

Maintenance was called, and they found the chips, with a tournament value of $2.7 million, although they had no actual cash value.

Lusardi is in custody awaiting trial.

By The Associated Press