The Bear Growls: John Ascuaga’s Nugget tells employees to lie to patrons

We all know lying to the public is part of a normal day for many front-line casino employees. Dealers lie about 6 to 5 blackjack not being as bad as it is, reservations agents lie about the hotel being sold out, pit supervisors lie about not being able to issue certain comps. All of that is expected, and is an unfortunate part of a business whose main function is to extract money from its customers while offering nothing in return.

However, when employees are specifically told by their supervisors to lie about government regulations, the lying has gone too far. See the complaint below, recently filed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and originally published on’s Green Chip. For those unfamiliar with the Reno area, JA Nugget is a large, successful casino in Sparks. I like the Nugget, and am dismayed to learn about this despicable practice. If the facts are as stated, let’s hope Gaming agrees that the lying has gone too far, and takes appropriate action to punish the Nugget and the dishonest employees involved:

Complaint for violation of Regulation 5.010 by John Ascuaga’s Nugget

On August 6, 2010, player’s club employee (name deleted here, but is in the complaint) stated that “Gaming regulations” require John Ascuaga’s Nugget to scan a patron’s identification into its computer system before a player’s card can be issued. Obviously, there is no such regulation. When questioned further about it, (the employee) said, “That’s what our supervisors told us to say when someone asks.”

If this employee was being truthful, the supervisors essentially instructed their employees to lie to the public. It is bad enough that the odious practice of copying identification by scanning has become so prevalent, to the detriment of the gaming public. Certainly it is within a licensee’s rights to set such a requirement as a policy or condition of receiving a player’s card. But a licensee instructing frontline employees to outright lie about non-existent government regulations to try to convince patrons to permit such scanning appears to be an unsuitable method of operation, in violation of Regulation 5.010.

Thank you for looking into this matter. Please advise me of the result, to the degree that you are able.

UPDATE 8/23/10:

An Agent interviewed the player’s club representative and her supervisors. The boothling admitted to telling the lie about the Gaming regulation to the patron, but denied that she said she was instructed to do so by her supervisors. The supervisors denied ever telling anyone to quote a non-existent Gaming regulation. The Gaming agent issued an informal warning to the boothling. The casino will not be penalized.

I think the situation was handled fairly and reasonably. Though there is a good chance that the supervisors did in fact tell the boothling to lie to patrons, it cannot be proven without an inordinate amount of investigative time for the issue involved. I think word will quickly spread around the Nugget that lying about Gaming is taken seriously, and the misconduct will stop.

If anyone else is told this story at the Nugget, please email me with details including the name of the employee, date, time, and circumstances.


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