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Gaming Guru

Jeff Simpson

Venetian Settles Complaint Over Rigging of Contest

25 February 2004

Rigging a 2002 contest to make sure a losing gambler won a Mercedes-Benz and violating other state rules will cost The Venetian $1 million, as the Strip megaresort agreed to a settlement this morning with state regulators, settling a 12-count Gaming Control Board complaint.

The complaint filed this morning charges The Venetian with rigging three separate drawings the property held in February 2002, awarding the car as well as a $20,000 gambling chip and a $10,000 gambling chip to predetermined winners.

In the rigged drawing for the car, an unnamed executive from The Venetian hid a ticket for a gambler preselected to win in his shirt sleeve, then pretended to select a ticket before naming the predetermined player as the winner.

The car-winning player had already lost a substantial amount of cash, the complaint noted.

The first three complaints involved the three rigged contests, and the fourth involved two property executives who knew about the contest rigging in advance and failed to stop it.

"The fact that they did it is terrible," Las Vegas Advisor Publisher Anthony Curtis said this morning. "Casinos can't operate that way. To be fined a large amount for rigging a contest is appropriate."

David Friedman, assistant to The Venetian owner Shaeldon Adelson, said in a statement that The Venetian takes great pride in its regulatory compliance record.

"The settlement agreement shows that all licensees must remain vigilent in their pursuit of a zero-tolerance policy as it relates to any potential violations of Nevada's gaming regulations," the statement noted. "The Venetian's commitment to this policy was clearly demonstrated in its responses to each count of the complaint."

The complaint's fifth count involved a separate credit scheme, where gamblers were granted more credit than they should have been.

Counts six and seven deal with cash transaction reporting violations; one involved an employee in Vancouver, British Columbia, who accepted $27,000 in currency and deposited it in property accounts in three separate $9,000 increments as a way to evade reporting.

Count eight involved a key employee who violated rules by placing $40,000 in sports bets for a customer who left the employee the chips and called from out-of-state to give instructions for the bets.

Count nine charged The Venetian with failing to account for promotional disbursements; count 10 charged the property with improper voiding of markers.

Counts 11 and 12 dealt with the property's purchase of seven cases of wine at $15,000 each. One count referred to the property's violation of Clark County liquor regulations for not buying the wine from a licensed distributor, the other dealt with property executives' failure to advise those who had bought the wine that some of the bottles may have been counterfeit.

The Gaming Control Board complaint doesn't name The Venetian executives who rigged the contest to award the luxury car, but the settlement agreement notes that the involved executives lost their jobs.

The settlement calls for The Venetian to pay a $663,000 fine as well as $337,000 to cover the Control Board's investigation costs, which will require a $1 million payment to the Nevada Gaming Commission at its March 18 meeting.