Nevada Gaming Board Debates Rights of Banned Casino Winners
The Nevada gaming authority has been deliberating a possible shift in gambling regulations regarding winners who have previously been banned from casinos. A notable member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), George Assad, argues that those trespassing on the premises they’ve been ousted from should not be collecting their prizes. This stance, however, was earlier this month opposed by other NGCB executives.
In the October 4 resolution passed by the NGCB, it was mandated that the Casablanca Resort and Casino in Mesquite pay the jackpot of $1,660 won by a trespasser, Rhon Wilson, on April 28. This decision was reached despite the persistent efforts of the Casablanca management to obtain the award that was won by Wilson while playing a Dragon Link slot.
A past offender, Wilson was originally prohibited from the casino for a minor crime of stealing a $1 beer back in March 2011. There have been records of him being physically removed from the establishment six times following his banning. When Wilson got lucky with the Dragon Links, his antiquated profile was flagged since a successful jackpot above $1,200 necessitates the disbursement of the prize by a slot attendant and issuance of a W-2G Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form.
The Mesquite Gaming, proprietors and operators of Casablanca, also own and manage the Virgin River Hotel Casino in Mesquite.
In an unexpectedly divided opinion, it was ruled by the NGCB that Wilson’s winnings alongside other credits must be paid by Casablanca. NGCB Chair Kirk Hendrick and Dr. Brittnie Watkins supported the majority decision whereas ex-judge George Assad disagreed.
Hendrick’s perspective reflects the state’s traditional expectation of gambling licensees to remunerate winnings, even to trespassers. Assad insists that NGCB’s past rulings do not need to dictate future regulations.
Questioning the merit behind the existing approach, Assad said, “It’s a bad policy. Just because the policy has been on the books for a number of years doesn’t mean it’s good policy.” However, the NGCB’s judgment was enacted without requiring approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission who supervises the Control Board.
Consequently, on October 18, the NGCB convened a regulatory meeting where the issue of paying out winnings to banished individuals was thoroughly examined.
Instances of such circumstances aren’t as scarce as anticipated, according to Clark County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Lalli, who reported 87 trespassing occurrences involving casinos in July only.
During the aforementioned regulatory workshop, Assad called for both Hendrick and Watkins to review and consider a policy that disallows trespassed persons to win at banned casinos.
Without a comprehensive checklist of banned individuals, security staff face difficulties when cross-checking entrants against the ban list, as asserted by Dick Tomasso, vice president of Mesquite Gaming. For individuals like Wilson, who aren’t listed on the so-called “Black Book,” or the Excluded Person List of NGCB, identification checks are likely only done to affirm the entrant’s age of at least 21.
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