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April 18, 2015

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Hard Rock Hotel to pay $650,000 in settlement over drugs


Leila Navidi

The main entrance to Vanity nightclub inside the Hard Rock Hotel’s HRH Tower Thursday, February 25, 2010.

Updated Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010 | 11:47 a.m.

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Even after Nevada casinos were warned that drug use and other illegal activity wouldn't be tolerated in nightclubs and other venues, Las Vegas Hard Rock hotel-casino employees and supervisors broke the law by selling drugs and providing private restrooms so patrons could have sex and take drugs.

That's according to the state Gaming Control Board, which filed a complaint against the hotel-casino Wednesday.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, the Hard Rock agreed to settle the matter by paying a $500,000 fine and paying $75,000 apiece to the Gaming Control Board and Metro Police to cover investigative costs.

The complaint notes that in 2006 and again in 2009 the board sent letters to casino licensees expressing concern with problems at nightclubs including excessive drunkenness, public sexual acts, date rape, prostitution, extortion/misquoting of service charges, drug distribution and abuse, violence, the admittance of minors, the dumping of incapacitated club-goers into casino venues and failure to cooperate with law enforcement.

Hard Rock hotel-casino officials attended industry training seminars in 2008 and 2009 conducted by the Gaming Control Board.

Nevertheless, the complaint says, undercover investigations by the board and Metro Police at the Body English and Vanity nightclubs found numerous violations.

For instance, in November 2009 a Hard Rock security officer took a Metro narcotics detective to a locked private restroom used for smoking marijuana, a hotel-casino VIP host said he could arrange for drug purchases and was himself under the influence of ecstasy and hosts and security officers sold detectives ecstasy and cocaine.

In other instances, a patron sold drugs to an officer and a host received a kickback for arranging a drug deal.

A security officer facing charges in the probe agreed to provide information and told agents multiple security officers and supervisors were involved in providing drugs to patrons and that two private restrooms in Vanity nightclub could be used for drugs or sex.

Similarly, a host facing charges related that certain hosts and security officers would sell drugs to patrons.

The settlement says the Hard Rock "took significant steps" to correct the drug problem, including firing employees and key executives.

The settlement said the casino tested all its security officers and many nightlife workers and vice presidents. The results showed 97.5 percent were drug free.

The proposed settlement will be presented to the parent state Gaming Commission for final approval at either its January or February meeting.

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  1. these guys have got to get out from under the dark cloud they find themselves...
    too bad too..
    i really like that place...
    love the steak and shrimp at mr lucky's..
    we're rooting for you hrh!!!

  2. Anything for a buck.

  3. the mob never woulda let this happen

  4. WTF - Just like the previous comment says. If this happened at my local casino I would loose my license and be out millions (everything).

    I view this as a double standard. They should not only be fined - but EVERYONE with knowledge should loose their gaming cards and loose their ability to work in gaming (not just fired)

  5. I thought what ever happened here stayed here?

  6. mred, it dos stay in L.V....Just that it "stays" on the front page of the paper for all to see!
    I imagine this will be used as additional evidence by HRC in it's lawsuit against HRH. Sounds like HRH has a terrible management problem that will probably eventually lead to it's demise. The clubs should have been shut down, at least for 30 days or so as a penalty, in addition to the fines. I agree with those that say a gaming license review is appropriate.

  7. double-down, $500k is about the revenue for one peak weekend.

  8. Now you see why that stupid Rehab reality TV show has been rejected and slapped out and away from the Hard Rock. It's a waste. More headache than it's worth. Hard Rock values their gambling license.

    But what I think is hilarious is, during that show, they used to pay six digit figure dollar amounts to the b#@%hy and shameless pseudo celebrities to host it and stand around, smile once in awhile, pose, smile more, implore them to not look stupid, smile yet again, minimize their drug/alcohol intake and receive guarantees they won't be on their cell phones texting their butts off and ignoring the unwashed masses that want to adore them.

    INSTANT MONEY! That free ride is over with.

    And what are we left with? What's the result of all that miscellanous B.S.?

    Easy answer: Paris Hilton shows up for community service in high heels to paint out graffitti. (NOTE: That's from reliable sources...she did that.)

    Goodbye Rehab! That reality show crap don't work in Las Vegas. Sin City only goes so far. Rehab ain't the real world and it definitely bordered on criminality. You made your money and it wore out.

  9. What would a non-restricted licensee have to actually do to receive either a license suspension or revocation?

    If these charges aren't enough, how serious would they have to be?


  10. my comments once were censored after I mentioned exactly this and other stuff I noticed that happened insided the HR Casino several months ago. In fact, it was frightening when I all over sudden was approached by a guy in the restroom asking me whether I "want something....". And believe me, it's not a nice experience inside of a casino complex, yes, but certainly not under video surveillance inside of the restrooms. You never know, this guy could have pulled a gun or stabbed me and take my money. This is the flip side of the coin. A "hip" and trendy casino but sometimes they should respect the limits.

    From Switzerland

  11. Hedonism @ the Hard Rock...
    Rose to prominence at the height of the boom, crashed in the bust. Correlation?

  12. "Hard Rock hotel-casino officials attended industry training seminars in 2008 and 2009 conducted by the Gaming Control Board."

    According to this article, all this was private activities involving consenting adults and nobody was hurt.

    Sin is NOT a legitimate area for state jurisdiction. Gaming is ripe for the budget ax!

    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others." -- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82 (capitalization of the word god is retained per original; see Positive Atheism's Historical Section)

  13. I like the Hard Rock, one of my favorite casinos. I enjoy the youthful, hip vibe it has - but that's it's problem.

    With the exception of the Palms, which does an amazing job balancing local business with the younger tourists, all the casinos that market towards a hip crowd have struggled mightly. Look at Planet Hollywood, the aforementioned Hard Rock, and Hooters as examples.

    The problem is - young people don't have real money. They may frequent the nightclubs, play blackjack, carouse and fill rooms, but they don't play slots.

    The slot handle is where casinos make their money. The youth market isn't going to grind it out on the nickle slots for three hours. They'll play a little bit, but not enough to significantly lose money. Why? First off, as I mentioned, a younger crowd has a limited budget and can't afford to drop five hundred bucks on slots. Second, the younger crowd doesn't want to waste valuable vacation time sitting on a slot machine when there are other sexier options available.

    Older visitors with more disposable income are the core of Las Vegas, and without them, Vegas will continue to struggle.

    That said, Las Vegas needs to stop this kind of blatant debauchary that has been reported in our casino nightclubs. Southern Nevada needs the Asian market and middle America to flourish. Both of these markets are certain to be turned off when they read a story such as this.

  14. KJTchoup
    I think you nailed it. Without being a local, I can agree with your comment. I see that on the weekends, many casinos are totally packed, but real gaming is not going on. Let's take the Palms, for instance, or the Caesars Palace or Mirage crowd waiting to get into these super night clubs. There are so many pretty girls standing around in line , or walking to the clubs. Even out there in the west, at the red rock, I noticed the same thing. These young folks come with only one intention, that is to party. They pass the videopoker and slot rows without eye-blinking, have their drinks in the clubs, perhaps they play 30-50 dollars with minimum bets on b-j, just to get their cocktails for a buck tip, and then that's about it. Substantial money is not being lost by such people.

    On the other hand, perhaps it's like different businesses put together. The casinos are probably trying to make additional money from leasing out floorspace to these clubs, without actually planning to drag in these crowds to have them gamble, so it only looks like these people don't really gamble. They would never come to the casino except for this one single purpose, which is the club life. So, whether they walk by these countless rows of slots or not is not relevant as they would never be there without these clubs, anyways.
    The Encore has a similar super night club that's attracting the crowds, and I also don't think that these people are actually heavy gamblers. To the contrary. If you walk through the casino after 3 a.m. on the weekends, you see many tipsy young ladies that can barely walk straight anymore, even barefoot, and some of them even need to be escorted by security because they're so drunk. I have seen security escort a young lady sitting in a wheelchair because she couldn't walk anymore. I mean, that's maybe fun, but it's not the kind of customer base the casino wants to generate huge profits.

    Let's get things straight: The money is being won by the casino from gambling tourists, and not from partying locals. Even if they flock in by thousands on every given weekend, they're not the kind of customers a casino needs. Even a Palms hotel lives on gambling addicted locals and tourists that come to Vegas for gambling, and not for partying. The party image is only an illusion necessary to create the "fun factor". Which is a fake.

    From Switzerland