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May 19, 2019

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Gaming Commission OKs settlement over Caesars Palace baccarat table dance

Tony Alamo

Tony Alamo

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved a state settlement and $250,000 fine against the holding company for Caesars Palace on Thursday. But commissioners weren’t happy that resort representatives didn’t show up for the tongue-lashing they gave the company for allowing a customer to do an impromptu dance on a baccarat table last year.

“It’s a rap across the beak, but I have to say I’m disappointed that there aren’t any Caesars executives here,” Commissioner Tony Alamo said.

The state Gaming Control Board’s complaint against Desert Palace Inc., a Harrah’s Entertainment holding company for Caesars Palace, was issued in August and the company quickly reached a settlement. Gary Selesner, senior vice president and general manager of Caesars, signed off on paying the fine.

Gaming attorney David Arrajj, who recently was hired to represent Caesars in the case, said he didn’t know what, if any, disciplinary action was taken regarding the Oct. 10, 2009, incident.

According to the state’s complaint, an unidentified Caesars patron climbed from his chair onto the baccarat table and placed wagers before returning to stand on his chair. Over a 45-minute span, the patron climbed on and off the table three times, once performing a dance while placing his bets.

The incident was captured on videotape, but it wasn’t viewed at today’s meeting.

The state’s one-count complaint said Caesars failed to immediately recognize a potential compromise to game protection and patron safety and didn’t take any remedial action.

Commissioners surmised that no one took action, fearing that doing so would potentially chase away a high-rolling customer.

“I know that there are pressures on supervisors during these times, but the message needed to be sent that this kind of behavior can’t happen,” Alamo said.

Commissioner Randolph Townsend said it would be good to know whether any disciplinary action occurred or if the company viewed the situation as a cost of doing business.

Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard said he was concerned that the incident was reported to authorities until a day later. He considered the fine to be “not punishing, but designed to change behavior.”

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