Contact Form

    News Details

    OC high roller sues Las Vegas casino, blaming his multimillion-dollar losses on a spiked drink
    • October 14, 2023

    In the parlance of Las Vegas, Orange County real estate developer Dwight Manley is a “whale.”

    An expert coin collector and former sports agent who represented NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman, Manley could be counted on to bet big. And on one particularly ugly afternoon at an MGM Grand Resort and Casino blackjack table, he took a multimillion-dollar hit that he blames on a drink spiked with a tranquilizer used on animals.

    Manley, 57, of Brea has filed a federal lawsuit against MGM Resorts International for consumer fraud and negligence, claiming the casino kept extending his credit millions of dollars even though his behavior had become visibly erratic after someone allegedly put ketamine in his old fashioned cocktail. On Thursday, Oct. 12, his representatives announced a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who drugged him.

    Meanwhile, Manley remains on the hook for at least $2.4 million in credit debt, according to his lawsuit, which was filed in November 2022 and amended in July.

    “Mr. Manley feels that a serious criminal act was directed at him which potentially put his life in danger,” said one of Manley’s attorneys, Richard K. Howell, on Friday, Oct. 13. “He is determined to do all that he can to track down and hold accountable those responsible.”

    Howell would not comment further. Lawrence J. Semenza, the attorney for MGM Resorts International, declined comment.

    30-year relationship with casino

    According to court documents, Manley had a 30-year relationship with the MGM Grand, where he was treated like a VIP and offered free lodging, food, drink and access to a high-limit salon, where he played alone at the blackjack table. He also was allowed credit advances while gambling by signing “markers.”

    On his most recent trip, Manley and his entourage left Orange County on Dec. 10, 2020, on a private plane provided by the casino, said the lawsuit. He was given a villa at the MGM “Mansion,” a luxury property on the grounds of the resort.

    His accommodations were handled by a casino host, whom Manley had been working with for the past five years. Manley’s plan that weekend was to gamble and then play in a poker tournament at the casino.

    Drink tasted ‘bitter’

    He didn’t even make it through the first day. Within a half-hour of arriving, Manley was at a blackjack table, ordering his first old fashioned from the bar in the high-stakes salon. He remarked that the drink tasted “bitter” and “dirty” and later asked when he ordered a second drink that it not be made the same way, the suit said.

    After drinking that first cocktail, Manley said he felt disoriented and, while gambling, broke a glass ash tray, cutting his hand. MGM staff noticed him bleeding on the felt table and moved him to another blackjack station, so he could continue gambling, the suit said.

    The casino did not seek medical aid for Manley, but gave his friend some Band-Aids to patch his hand in the restroom, the suit said.

    Manley was given application after application to increase his maximum credit limit even after his casino host told Manley’s friends that pit staff had noticed he was acting erratically. In all, Manley’s credit limit was raised three times.

    “MGM did nothing to stop (Manley) from further gaming play or to otherwise check on his well-being despite its casino host expressly commenting upon his ‘erratic’ behavior,” the suit said.

    Left $500,000 on table

    After staying three hours in the high-limit area, Manley and his friends left to go to the Venetian, without realizing he had left $500,000 in chips on the table.

    Manley never made it to the Venetian. Friends quickly recognized something was wrong with him. He couldn’t stand or walk on his own and fell repeatedly on the way back to his villa, the suit said.

    Shortly after being helped into bed, he collapsed for the night about 5:15 p.m. He awoke the next morning feeling nauseous and groggy, complaining to hotel staff that he believed he had been drugged.

    After his immediate return to California, Manley sought medical treatment and submitted his hair follicles for drug testing. According to the lawsuit, the tests were positive for ketamine, an anesthetic that can cause hallucinations. Manley had never intentionally ingested ketamine, said the suit.

    Disavowed markers

    He filed a police report in Nevada and a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Manley also disavowed the markers taken after he was allegedly drugged.

    Manley “lacked capacity to enter into any requests for additional credit advances or credit instruments,” the suit said.

    Anyone with information on the alleged drugging is asked to call 800-608-6155. Information also can be submitted by email to [email protected]. Terms and conditions of the reward offer can be found at

    Related Articles

    News |

    San Diego County judge takes up OC murder case, prosecutorial misconduct allegations

    News |

    Whittier driver convicted of Cypress DUI crash that killed La Mirada girlfriend

    News |

    Anaheim woman convicted of ‘unspeakable’ torture of 10-year-old step-daughter

    News |

    Rep. Santos faces new allegations of fraud, theft

    News |

    Supreme Court declines to revisit landmark libel ruling, though Clarence Thomas wants to reconsider the decision

    ​ Orange County Register