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Howard Stutz

MGM faces fines for blocking gaming agent access

10 February 2014

LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada State Gaming Control Board Gaming Commission filed a two-count complaint Friday against the Aria Resort & Casino and MGM Resorts International for blocking two state gaming agents from observing wagering activity in the CityCenter resort’s high-limit casino area.

Aria could be fined $25,000 to $250,000 for each count, according to Nevada gaming law.

Unless a settlement is reached, a hearing on the matter will be held in front of the Nevada Gaming Commission at a date to be determined. MGM Resorts owns 50 percent of CityCenter and operates the Aria, the centerpiece of the Strip development.

According to the complaint, state gaming agents were observing the play of two customers on a roulette table in Aria’s “Salon Prive” when their view was blocked. The agents, who had not yet identified themselves as agents, were roughly “5 to 7 feet” from the roulette table.

An Aria casino supervisor told the agents the players “did not want to be watched.”

“One of the agents asked if all casino games were open to the public and the agent was told “observation of the roulette game was not welcome.”

The Aria floor supervisor said security would be called to stand between the board agents and the roulette table if needed.

According to the complaint, MGM Resorts had been warned in the past about similar violations at the company’s “other luxury brands” going back to 2010 and “has historically been aware of the need for vigilance in ensuring that the public has access to gaming.”

According to the complaint, MGM Resorts told the control board in early 2013 the company had taken steps at “each of the MGM’s luxury properties, including the Aria, to ensure public access to gaming would not be restricted.”

The control board said MGM Resorts failed “to conduct gaming operations in accordance with proper standards of custom, decorum and decency.”

Control Board officials declined comment.

In an emailed statement, MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Absher said the company “repects the Gaming Control Board greatly and acknowledge that our employee did not follow company procedures in this instance. Aria is committed to a high level of regulatory compliance and looks forward to resolving this matter in the near future. We expect to present this matter to the Gaming Commission and we trust that this process will produce a fair result and provide clarity for us moving forward.”
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