Casino Tycoon Suing Insurance For Millions

By Ben Hamill - July 21 2020
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Casino Tycoon Suing Insurance For Millions

Billionaire real estate investor and casino-tycoon Phil Ruffin is suing two prominent US insurance giants for millions in damages suffered and income lost as a result of the knock-on effect on business caused by the global health crisis. Ruffin owns popular Vegas casinos Circus Circus and Treasure Island (now TI).

The health crisis has caused billions in revenue lost to business the world over, and since casinos in Vegas were ordered to shut down all business operations by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Sin City’s casinos weren’t exempted from suffering quite a bit in losses of their own. Following many months of uncertainty, Vegas casinos were only allowed to open again on June 4, and at reduced occupancy levels.

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Ruffin Wants Answers – And Cover

Ruffin, who has owned Treasure Island since 2009, and Circus Circus since late last year, has said that he refuses to accept the explanation offered by insurance companies regarding non-coverage of events such as a global health crisis.

Insurance companies typically include indemnity clauses covering global events of this nature, and in the case of present circumstances, argue that since the crisis wasn’t physically present on the properties in question, i.e. causing direct damage, Ruffin’s businesses aren’t at liberty to claim payouts under current insurance policies and provisions.

Ruffin however argues that the crisis was very much present on the two properties in question. The fact that at least 1,600 sick days were recorded between the period January 1, 2020, and March 18, 2020, is according to the billionaire businessman proof enough that whatever it is that is causing damages on a global scale, was present right at home at these properties too. He furthermore also cited the 337,000 registered global guests who had flown in to visit his properties from all over the world as substantial backing for his claims.

Ruffin Cries Misrepresentation

According to the lawsuit filed by Ruffin’s Circus Circus property in the US District Court of Nevada, insurance giant AIG should not have sold to the business an all risks policy purporting at the time of the buying of the policy, to cover direct physical loss or damage if all risks were not in fact factually covered.

The terms of the policy include cover for physical loss or damage of property to the value of $500 million and loss of income to the value of $96.7 million.

Circus Circus is suing AIG for loss of income as a direct result of the crisis having been physically present on site. It also seeks $75,000 in legal expenses incurred resulting from the insurance giant’s failure to honour its commitments toward its client(s).

Ruffin’s Circus Circus and Treasure Island casinos are assumed to be the first two major Vegas casinos suing insurance companies over unpaid claims related to the global crisis. In a case of particularly bad timing caused by wholly unforeseeable circumstances, Ruffin purchased Circus Circus from MGM Resorts shortly before the crisis hit late last year.

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