As regular readers of this blog know, I often criticize Gaming. I think the agency is much too cozy with the industry it is supposed to be policing. I think it fails to mete out adequate penalties when casinos try to cheat patrons. Indeed, most of the time there is no penalty whatsoever for cheating attempts or other misconduct. The casino essentially gets a free roll to cheat patrons. All that happens is it is ordered to pay what it should have paid in the first place; no further penalties. This is Gaming’s biggest weakness — it does not use its considerable statutory authority and latitude in a way that would discourage casinos from trying to cheat patrons or engage in other unsavory practices. A few fines against individual dishonest employees and revocations of their “work permits” would go a long way in discouraging the common mindset of “we get one free bite” that has infested the industry. Referrals to the DA for criminal prosecutions of casino executives who try to cheat patrons, and security thugs who commit violent felonies (forcible backroomings and illegal “detentions”) would help reduce these incidents. Sadly, Gaming is woefully inadequate in taking meaningful enforcement action in these cases. The most egregious recent example is Gaming’s refusal to take action in dozens of false imprisonment and extortion cases admitted to by casinos.
Nevertheless, Gaming is fairly good in properly resolving simple patron disputes. It does err in favor of casinos too often, but overall I think the individual patron usually gets a fair shake. When there is large-scale dishonesty or malfeasance, as in the recent Hard Rock/IGT/Krider case, or going back a few years, the Eldorado Reno/MindPlay cheating incidents, the patron(s) has very little chance of meaningful recompense for being wronged. But in petty individual cases like this Vegas Club incident, at the field agent level the patron often recovers what is owed him or her.
I personally have had Gaming involved in disputes with casinos fifteen times. Twelve times Gaming ruled in my favor and the casino complied with the ruling. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, in none of the twelve cases was the casino or its employees punished for the wrongful behavior that resulted in my complaints. Admittedly, my complaints may have a higher success rate than the average complainant, as I have good working knowledge of the statutes and regulations, and involve Gaming only when I am certain the casino is wrong. In the three cases in which Gaming ruled against me, I believe the field agent was mistaken in his interpretation of regulations or the facts, but I did not pursue any of cases through the administrative appeals process. Had I done so, I might be fifteen for fifteen.
In the Vegas Club cheating attempt, I think Gaming will rule in the patron’s favor, and he will be paid, or given the opportunity to play the free play that is due him. But I doubt if any of the dishonest Vegas Club executives will be punished in any way, and I doubt if the casino itself will be punished in any way. Again, this is Gaming’s glaring weakness. If it becomes clear that the apparent attempt to cheat Mr. Peterson came from personal dislike of him, or because he was identified as a brain-using patron, there should be a large fine against the casino as well as firing, banning from the gaming industry, and criminal prosecution of the executives involved in the cheating attempt. When proper punishment starts happening, this bad behavior by casino people will be curtailed, and the industry might respect Gaming, instead of treating it like a drinking buddy. Until then, in Nevada it continues to be open season on casino patrons, and Gaming’s enforcement continues to be a laughingstock.