Two high-profile incidents and the fast-approaching summer months led state gaming regulators and Las Vegas police to issue a stern warning Thursday to hotel-casino operators: Keep a close watch on your nightclubs and pool parties or face disciplinary action for any illegal activity.
In a memorandum from Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, resort leaders were told they are responsible for any criminal conduct in their venues, even if a nightclub, ultra lounge or day club is operated by a third-party vendor.
“Recent investigations have not only shown a lack of enforcement effort to curtail criminal activity on the part of patrons, but that venue staff have played an active role in condoning and/or facilitating the criminal activity,” Burnett and Gillespie wrote.
In an interview, Burnett said last month’s shooting and ensuing multicar wreck on the Strip, which left three people dead, played a large role in the notice to gaming licensees. The grisly, predawn shooting had its origins in a dispute at the Aria valet area.
Another factor was the control board’s $1 million fine against the Palms Casino in January to settle charges of prostitution and drug sales at the property’s clubs.
“This shouldn’t be a surprise to our licensees,” Burnett said. “This is to serve notice to everyone involved that we are investigating problems. The sheriff is very concerned and there is a continuing desire for the departments to continue to work together on these issues.”
Sports betting kiosks have been around since 2004 and are now as common in Nevada as tabletop slots in taverns and other restricted gaming locations.
Developed through a joint venture between VirtGame Corp., Multimedia Enterprises and United Coin, the ATM-like machines allowed customers to place wagers as long as they had money on account. Customers had to go to a sports book, however, to cash winning tickets.
Evolving technology today permits customers to deposit money, open or close accounts, and collect winning tickets at the kiosk.
But the Nevada Resort Association says the upgraded kiosks blur the line between nonrestricted gaming, such as hotel-casinos, and restricted locations such as taverns and restaurants.
Billy Vassiliadis, an NRA lobbyist and a principal of R&R Partners in Las Vegas, told legislators Wednesday that regulations governing restricted locations lack clarity and certainty when it comes to sports betting kiosks. He testified at a joint information hearing of the Senate and Assembly Judiciary committees in Carson City.
888 Holdings approved
for interactive license
Representatives of Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings wanted to assure the Nevada Gaming Commission that the company, which operates legal Internet gaming websites in Europe, would comply with the state’s regulatory structure.
After the company spent almost two hours earlier this month making its case to the Gaming Control Board, the commission needed less than an hour Thursday to unanimously approve 888 for an interactive gaming license.
“Much has been put on the record in regards to 888,” Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard said. “All my concerns have been addressed.”
The company, which was found suitable in 2011 as a business partner with Caesars Entertainment Corp. to operate World Series of Poker-branded websites in Europe, will partner with Caesars on interactive gaming in Nevada.
Taxi drivers may strike
during NCAA tourney
Unhappy with a contract forced on them by their union hierarchy, a group of Frias Transportation Management taxi drivers has started laying the groundwork for a wildcat strike that could start this week during the NCAA Tournament, one of the year’s top tourist draws.
At a Tuesday night meeting of about 200 drivers represented by the United Steelworkers, nearly all raised their hands when a member of the local negotiating committee asked whether they supported a walkout. The drivers will meet again tonight for what they depicted as a final decision on how to proceed. Some raised the possibility of launching the strike by returning their cars to the Frias yard in the middle of their shifts.
Because United Steelworkers Union leadership has not sanctioned the action, drivers who stop work would face immediate termination and receive no strike pay or other support.
The Western Hotel sold
The Western Hotel, a rundown and shuttered hotel-casino on East Fremont Street between Eighth and Ninth streets, has been sold to Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, Andrew Donner, who handles real estate transactions for Hsieh, confirmed Thursday.
Tamares Real Estate took over the Western Hotel in 2005 from Barrick Gaming for an undisclosed amount. Jonathan Jossel, director of Las Vegas properties for Tamares, declined to disclose the purchase price.