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by LVBear

Long-time Las Vegas-based advantage player, casino critic, and frequent Blackjack Insider contributor LVBear offers his opinions on things that sometimes go wrong in the world of casinos.  Current and past growls can be read, and comments posted, at LVBear's website,

Planet Hollywood and Other Casinos Think False Imprisonment and Extortion "Make Good Sense."

This complaint filed today with the Nevada Gaming Control Board speaks for itself:

Unsuitable practices complaint against Planet Hollywood False imprisonment and extortion.


Please accept this for the purpose of filing an unsuitable practices complaint against Planet Hollywood, for its admitted conduct in detaining patrons for purposes other than making a citizen’s arrest or other purposes permitted by statute. I know you normally would not take a complaint based on a newspaper article, but this one quotes the security director by name. He essentially admits these crimes were committed.

Cops raid firm accused of extortion Company tried to team with casinos for end runs around courts, police say

It would appear that there are at least sixty-five cases of false imprisonment, as well as numerous other felonies committed by Planet Hollywood employees. I understand that Metro and/or the District Attorney should be the primary agencies investigating and prosecuting the criminal matters, but a licensee blatantly committing such crimes surely is also an unsuitable method of operation that should be addressed by the Board. I respectfully suggest that if this security director is a key employee, consideration be given to revoking that status; indeed, revoking his privilege to work in the industry at all.

From the article:

(Calvin) Abercrombie (Planet Hollywood security chief) told detectives that 65 people Planet Hollywood detained had enrolled in the program, but that the resort had received notification from the company that only two had completed the program. The casino received two $100 checks from United States Justice Associates for those cases, the affidavit says. …

They allegedly pitched a program to casinos to do an end run around law enforcement and the courts. It was to have worked like this, authorities allege: When the casinos’ security forces detained people on trespassing and other minor criminal charges, the casinos were to route those people into United States Justice Associates’ program rather than calling police to make the arrests. Once enrolled in the program, the detainees would be charged $500 and the company would kick back $100 to the casinos for each person who completed the program, the affidavit says. (emphasis added)

Receiving such kickbacks is unsavory, and certainly does "…reflect or tend to reflect discredit upon the State of Nevada or the gaming industry…" (
Regulation 5.011). With the ongoing incidents of false imprisonment by casino security employees, this appears to be a perfect case for the Board to address the issue. The basic facts of the multiple instances of wrongdoing do not appear to be in dispute; in fact are admitted by the head of security of the licensee. Undeniably, the conduct is egregious.

The article mentions that other licensees may be involved in these crimes:

The attorney added that United States Justice Associates had agreements with a "number of casinos," all of which thought the program made good sense.

It "made good sense" to commit false imprisonment and extortion? If you are able to determine which licensees they are, please extend the unsuitable practices complaint to them as well.


Palms, Rampart, Cannery, South Point Conspire to Fix Prices in Sportsbooks

Competitors Palms, Rampart/Cannery, and South Point have conspired to attempt to fix prices at their sports books, to the detriment of the public.  Though the books will remain independent in their operations, they will have the same lines (i.e, prices) at all locations.  It is worth noting that these are competitors, not several locations under unified ownership, such as Harrah’s, MGM, Leroy’s, Cal-Neva, et al.

In this article, the books brag about how they will be able to handle heavier action. But what good are higher limits when the prices are fixed?

Bert Osbourne, South Point’s sports book director, will set the lines for the eight properties, but each book will continue to be owned and operated by its current owners.

Price Fixing, Bid Rigging, and Market Allocation Schemes:  What They Are and What to Look For

This is no different than the managers of Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target getting together and agreeing to charge the identical price on every item they sell. There used to be anti-trust laws; do they still exist?   Crooked businesspeople used to be prosecuted for scams like this; but these casino folks are doing it in the open and bragging about it.

Here is a chance for the Nevada Gaming Control Board to show it is at least a little bit more than a puppet for the casino industry.   It showed a little backbone in the recent  nightclub scandals, though it stopped woefully short by declining to recommend criminal prosecution. Will it meet the challenge and stop this despicable price-fixing scam, or will it roll over as usual?  Sad to say, my money is on the Board rolling over.  The casino patron gets the short end of the stick again.  Shame, shame, shame.  These characters wonder why Nevada had its biggest decrease in gaming win in history this year.  Lack of meaningful patron protection against casino wrongdoing, and the Nevada casino industry’s "screw the public" mentality are surely among the reasons.

If the Gaming Control Board refuses to stop this, perhaps it’s time for the U.S. Department of Justice to take action.


Bear Praise: A Different Look at the Nevada Gaming Control Board

The Nevada Gaming Control Board today put on an informational seminar for casino licensees and "interested parties." Needless to say, I am an interested party. The seminar was the brainchild of Board Member Randall E. Sayre, of whom I have been critical in the past.

Mr. Sayre put on an excellent presentation, and did not dodge tough questions. Though he and I have disagreements on certain issues, I came away from the seminar with new respect for Mr. Sayre and for Jerry Markling, the Chief of Enforcement, who was also polite and gracious to a growling old bear who has frequently criticized him and his Enforcement Division.

If the fair-minded, no-nonsense approach Mr. Sayre took in a room of casino folks would trickle down to lower-level enforcement employees, the Board could be much more forthright and effective in properly controlling the industry it is charged with regulating, and reducing the disrespect for the law routinely demonstrated by many casino employees. Congratulations to Mr. Sayre on an outstanding presentation. I hope that what he said didn’t fall on deaf casino ears. I look forward to future seminars.

The seminar is being repeated in Carson City on September 21. I urge everyone with an interest in the industry to attend. You are almost certain to learn something. Mr. Sayre possesses a wealth of knowledge and ideas. In the Las Vegas seminar, one could be as anonymous as he or she wanted. Entry was open with no questions asked, a truly "open meeting." Well done.


Bear Praise: Oklahoma Supreme Court’s Ruling on Tribal Sovereignty


In this news article, Court rules casino lawsuits can be heard in state courts,  Choctaw counsel Bob Rabon is quoted:  "I’ve been representing Indian tribes for 40 years, and this is probably the single most difficult blow for tribal sovereignty that I have ever seen in my career."  This is great to know.  Perhaps it is a step towards dismantling the "tribal sovereignty" system that has been such a failure.

Tribes operate big casinos that plunder their surrounding communities, generating most of their money from non-tribal members.  Patron disputes and allegations of wrongdoing are ignored by the casino-controlled "tribal gaming commissions."  Victims of casino wrongdoing are expected to file complaints in the local tribal kangaroo court system.  Local non-tribal law enforcement agencies, though they often have jurisdiction over felonies committed on tribal land, are reluctant to arrest casino employees who commit violent crimes against patrons, often citing the stupidity of "tribal sovereignty" as a reason for their refusal to do their duty.  "Tribal sovereignty" has been a dismal failure and should be ended.  This court case may be the beginning of the end of "tribal sovereignty."  I hope so.

More information about the case:  Danny Dye and Pat Dye v. Choctaw Casino of Pocola, Oklahoma and The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma




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