Las Vegas Sun

April 22, 2019

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Strip casino exec disputes $25,000 fine

CARSON CITY -- An executive of the Westward Ho complained bitterly as his resort paid a $25,000 fine for violating state gaming regulations.

Hans Dorweiler, director of casino operations at the Strip hotel-casino, charged Thursday that state agents used "coercion and entrapment."

Dorweiler told the Nevada Gaming Commission that there were "extenuating circumstances."

But Dorweiler agreed to pay the fine rather than contest the violation of a money-laundering regulation through another hearing.

A State Gaming Control Board undercover agent on two occasions left $6,000 with the casino cashier for safekeeping. Nevada regulations require the same denomination of bills be returned to the player, in order to avoid money laundering.

In this case, the casino clerk returned the bills in their correct denomination. But the agent then asked her to give him smaller bills for the $100 bills that were put into the account. She complied.

Dorweiler, in a letter of protest to the commission, said the undercover agent kept questioning the cashier about the marker being used for the return of the money. He said the "agent pretended to be confused" and was quite persistent in asking questions.

The casino clerk called her superior, who explained that only the same denomination of bills could be returned. But then the clerk agreed to give the agent smaller bills for the $100 bills put on deposit.

Commission Chairman Bill Curran told Dorweiler he could withdraw from the settlement and fight the case. But Dorweiler declined.

"With (the agent) making all these demands, (the clerk) broke down," Dorweiler said.

Dorweiler was hoping to persuade the commission to reduce the proposed $25,000 fine. But commission attorneys said that's the minimum fine that can be levied in cash-transaction violations.

Deputy Attorney General Kirk Hendrick, who handled the case for the state, said there is no evidence the illegal transaction was a willful act or that the casino was engaged in money laundering.