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LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The Gaming Control Board took less than 10 minutes Thursday to nominate a convicted slot machine cheat for membership as the 36th name on the state's List of Excluded Persons, commonly referred to as the Black Book.
If the nomination of William Cushing is confirmed at a later date by the Nevada Gaming Commission, Cushing will be legally barred from entering a licensed Nevada casino.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Michael Somps spent about seven minutes describing Cushing's numerous convictions for attempting to cheat slot machines in Nevada casinos since 1994. Cushing spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for gambling-related cheating violations against several Strip casinos.
"Only one of the criteria spelled out (in Nevada law) is needed for consideration to be included," Somps said. "This individual met three of the criteria."
Somps said Cushing's convictions, a 2007 Clark County grand jury indictment for slot machine cheating, and his associations with Black Book members John Vaccaro and Sandra Vaccaro, who were convicted with him in U.S. District Court in Reno in 1985, enhanced his eligibility.
Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said Cushing had a compelling case for inclusion in the Black Book before his indictment last September.
Following his 1985 conviction for rigging false jackpots at a Strip casino, he struck plea bargains in Las Vegas Justice Court in 1994 and 1997 and was convicted in Clark County District Court in 2000 for trying to cheat slot machines.
Cushing is due to go to trial in November on charges he used a cheating device on slot machines in the Boulder Station and Fiesta Rancho casinos. According to the indictment, Cushing inserted a device into a slot machine's bill validator so it would register a wager of $100 when just $1 had been inserted. The credits were then cashed out through the slot machine's ticket in-ticket out system.
Somps said Cushing, who did not attend the hearing, will be notified of his nomination. He will have 60 days to seek a hearing contesting the action in front of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Cushing's nomination was the first by the control board since 2004, when two other convicted slot machine cheats were added to the list.
The Black Book contains 35 names that date back to the 1960s and 1970s, when organized crime controlled Nevada's casino industry.
The law was set up to prohibit people with felony convictions against the gaming industry from entering a casino. It's considered a gross misdemeanor if someone from the List of Excluded Persons enters a gaming establishment. Casino executives can also face disciplinary action from Nevada gaming regulators if they knowingly allow a member of the Black Book to enter the property.
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