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Gaming Guru

Joe Weinert
 

Atlantic City Roundup

26 January 2004

ATLANTIC CITY -- Don King's days of promoting fights in Atlantic City might be done. Forever.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, clearly fed up with King's licensing manipulations and refusal to answer questions about shady business deals, has asked the Casino Control Commission to bar him from even applying for a license for five years.

And given volume of pointed questions the DGE has for King, it is uncertain whether he will ever sit for the sworn interview gaming investigators are demanding as a condition of his relicensure.

"Don King's actions have delayed the division's investigation in an apparent attempt to promote as many fights, and make as much money, as he can in Atlantic City without being licensed," Deputy Attorney General Louis Rogacki said in response to King's latest request to withdraw his license application.

The DGE disclosed that King has collected $6.3 million from casinos for four fights over the last six years. He has managed to do this without holding a casino-service-industry license. He last held a license in 1994.

King has avoided licensure through a pattern of applying for a license - a procedure that allows one to begin doing business with casinos - and then withdrawing when the DGE investigation intensifies. His latest withdrawal request came Jan. 6, just 22 days after he collected $1.5 million from Bally's Atlantic City for a title-fight extravaganza at Boardwalk Hall.

Usually, one has to wait one year after withdrawing a license application before reapplying. The DGE is asking casino commissioners to make King sit out five years - and even then not be allowed to resume casino business until he actually holds a license.

Until then, the DGE wants to question King about his possible role in the 1990s International Boxing Federation bribery scandal, allegations of insurance fraud, allegations of fraudulently billing Mike Tyson, allegations of threatening the life of a Tyson associate and other questionable practices.

King said he withdrew his license request because lawyers told him not to face questions about the IBF bribery matter.

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A small-time cheat banned from Atlantic City casinos 25 years ago is now free to gamble there again.

The Casino Control Commission voted unanimously to remove Allen Perlman, 56, of Allentown, Pa., from the Exclusion List. Regulators agreed with Perlman that he's been punished long enough for actions that today would not qualify him for banishment. "He's been a pillar of society since then," his lawyer told regulators.

The Exclusion List now has 167 names, most of whom are mobsters.

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Memo to casino employees: If you're going to swipe company funds, don't chew the evidence. It looks suspicious.

Resorts Atlantic City and State Police uncovered $180,000 in theft by slot cashiers after seeing one, through surveillance, "chewing on something and then spitting it into a slot-booth trash can" two years ago.

Upon emptying the trash can, investigators discovered that the man was chewing a duplicate copy of a hopper fill slip. He, and two others, were caught generating hopper-fill slips and jackpot-pay slips when there was no need for either, then pocketing the money themselves.

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The Casino Control Commission is giving casinos a $5 million rebate for regulatory costs after finishing the fiscal year with a big surplus.

The opening of Borgata last summer caused a flood of new employee and vendor license applications, which generated more funds than regulators budgeted. Because casinos entirely fund the cost of their regulation, the commission will refund the overcharges in the form of credits toward future regulatory costs.

The amount represents 8.6 percent of the $58.1 million in fees and assessments the casinos paid for the year ended June 30, 2003. The rebate will likely grow once the commission completes an audit this spring.

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Trump Taj Mahal paid $60,000 to settle civil regulatory charges that it discriminated against female employees by heeding a woman's 1999 request that she be assigned a male limousine driver.

Regulators also found that the Taj also requested male drivers on 18 other occasions.

Records show that casino officials who dealt with Taj's limousine assignments were never told that it is impermissible to assign drivers by gender or race.

The Taj argued that no employees were displaced as a result of the male-only requests.

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In winning a four-year license renewal, Resorts Atlantic City hinted of big plans to develop an adjacent 12-acre site.

Vice Chairman Nicholas Ribis said Resorts exercised a $40 million option on the property, which will be used for a project "that I'm excited about but can't talk about now."

"I'm a believer in Atlantic City. I think Atlantic City has a lot more to grow. ... The expansion of the marketplace is what has to happen. This (land purchase) gives us a clear field for us for development, which you will be hearing about in the next three to six months," Ribis said.

Ribis would not divulge more.

"Our best guess is that the new project includes additional gaming and hotel capacity and that it may be a joint venture with a somewhat higher-budget customer orientation than Resorts currently has. A rumor at the hearing was that a joint venture may include a Hard Rock casino hotel but we are not certain at this time," Jefferies & Co. analyst Raymond Cheesman said in a research note.

(Joe Weinert will be on vacation for a week beginning next Tuesday, and will resume filing his column on resume on Feb. 9. Weinert covers the gaming industry for The Press of Atlantic City. He can be reached at jweinert@pressofac.com after he returns.