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Cy Ryan

Dispute over $5 payout results in fine for slot club

27 December 2006

CARSON CITY - It may go down in Nevada gaming lore as The Fable of the Filched Fin.

A complaint has been filed by the state Gaming Control Board against a small slot machine club in Las Vegas in a dispute over a $5 slot payout - a seemingly inconsequential issue that became anything but when club officials stonewalled state agents' investigation.

The complaint, prepared by the Nevada attorney general's office, was filed against City Limits, 3297 Las Vegas Blvd. North, and its licensees: Sherril, Damian and Stasia Doom.

In the complaint, state attorneys ask the Gaming Control Board to take disciplinary action against the owners of the club, licensed for no more than 15 slots. They have 20 days to answer the complaint.

The dispute began in April, when Sheila Mathews says she was cheated out of a $5 payout while playing slots at City Limits.

Bartender Betty Storm refused to make the payout, saying Mathews was not playing the machines and ordered her to leave the club.

Mathews contacted the Gaming Control Board, and agent Victor Ingram responded. Club employee Alan Griego, however, did not believe Ingram was a legitimate investigator despite the fact the agent showed identification.

The complaint says Griego refused to provide any information in the investigation and he refused Ingram's request to identify himself and his job title.

Ingram then contacted owner Sherril Doom, and asked her to send someone to the business. Doom, however, refused.

A second agent, Steve Warby, then joined the investigation. When he contacted Doom, she agreed to pay the $5.

Griego, however, refused to make the payout, the complaint notes.

Griego also refused to hand over a written statement made by the bartender and declined to permit the agents access to the rear bar area to pick up the statement. When Warby retrieved the statement, Griego pushed a silent alarm and telephoned police.

Police arrived, examined the agents' credentials and left.

Enter Stasia Doom, who then showed up and paid the $5 to Mathews.

By then, it was too late.

The complaint says the refusal to cooperate with the agents constitutes an unsuitable method of operation. And Griego "created an embarrassing situation for board agents and was potentially life-threatening and dangerous" when he called police, the complaint adds.

It also asks that the club owners be fined. And if that happens, a five-dollar bill probably won't take care of things.