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May 23, 2015

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

Image

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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