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As We See It

Deadmau5, Bon Jovi, a high roller and the weirdest Vegas lawsuit ever

Gambler Don Johnson’s pricey song request now has Deadmau5’ managing agency and XS’ Jesse Waits in a legal battle.
Lex Cannon

It might have been the most expensive four minutes and 11 seconds in Las Vegas nightclub history: On the night of February 21, 2011, notorious gambler Don Johnson offered Deadmau5 $200,000 to play Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” during the DJ’s set at XS. Johnson—who heads up a major betting software firm—should’ve been good for it. After all, this is the same guy who months earlier reportedly raked in $15 million during a four-month blackjack streak in Atlantic City. So up Johnson went for an unannounced dance cameo onstage while Deadmau5 played the tune, the words “Don Mother F*cking Johnson” flashing on the LED screens surrounding them. Had the story ended right there, it would’ve been absurd enough. But when XS Managing Partner Jesse Waits, who vouched for Johnson, went to collect the $200K, Johnson refused to cough up, forcing Waits and Deadmau5’s managing agency, William Morris Endeavor, to foot the bill. Waits and WME are now suing each other to get back their respective portions of the $200,000 goodwill payment to Deadmau5. The latest court filings say the feuding parties have reached a tentative settlement but have yet to finalize, and Johnson seems mysteriously out of the picture. As for Bon Jovi, well, no word on whether he got a cut from Deadmau5’s cash.

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Andrea Domanick is an award-winning reporter covering the behind the scenes stories of life in Las Vegas. Her work has ...

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