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April 24, 2014

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Gaming board rejects application of former Las Vegas casino exec

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Steve Marcus

Tom Breitling, left, and Tim Poster pose outside the Golden Nugget casino downtown Monday, January 12, 2004. Breitling and Poster, partners in the Poster Financial Group, pulled off a major coup late last year, raising a $155 million to purchase the Golden Nugget and its sister property in Laughlin.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has rejected the application of former Golden Nugget owner Timothy N. Poster because of his ties to an illegal online sports-wagering operation.

Timothy Poster was questioned for nearly five hours by board members about his betting habits and his association with three men who, along with others, have been indicted in running an unlawful sports betting business off-shore and in the United States.

Poster told the board he did not know it was illegal to place bets with Pinnacle Sports, with whom he bet several hundred thousand dollars a year, mostly on professional football.

He said he used the online betting service because of the $10,000 betting limit at Las Vegas sports books and the convenience of placing wagers by computer.

Poster sought suitability to continue working in the gaming industry. Besides his Golden Nugget ownership, Poster was a senior executive at Wynn Resorts Ltd. but resigned during the state's investigation of his background.

The board had the option of approving, denying or rejecting his license. The three board members agreed they would not approve the application. Mark Clayton, attorney for Poster, then urged the board to reject the license, a move that would permit Poster to be a consultant or a nongaming employee for a casino.

The board agreed to reject the application but Chairman A.G. Burnett said Poster's conduct will be monitored.

Poster was questioned about his association with Stanley Tomchin, Brandt England and George Molsbarger, who were among those indicted for running the multimillion-dollar bookmaking business.

Poster said he should not have associated with them and should not have bet online. "I made a mistake," he told the board, but added he has no criminal record.

Burnett told Poster, "I've heard you're a really good guy. I like you personally." But the board cannot ignore these violations.

Board member Terry Johnson said he could not approve the license because of "his associations with certain persons" and his online wagering with an illegal sports betting service.

Johnson said he had "trouble accepting that you (Poster) did not know it was an unlawful act."

Board member Shawn Reid said he was concerned about the association with these three men and the "negative impact" it has on Nevada. He said the online wagering "undermined the legal sports betting" in Nevada.

The state Gaming Commission meets Dec. 19 in Las Vegas to make a final decision.

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