Aria Casino Agrees to $100,000 Fine from the Nevada Gaming Control Board
The Aria Casino in Las Vegas has agreed to $100,000 fine for an incident when Aria’s staff blocked state agents from viewing a game of high-stakes roulette. Earlier in the week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board posted on its website that it sought to fine the Las Vegas Strip casino $100k. The Aria Casino later posted its agreement to the $100,000 fine.
For the fine to be official, the Nevada Gaming Commission will have to approve the deal. According to Nevada law, the Aria Casino faced a potential fine as large as $500,000.
Recap of the Incident
In February 2014, two agents of the Gaming Control Board entered the Aria Casino, but did not identify themselves while watching high rollers play roulette. A supervisor told the agents that the roulette players did not want to be watched while they play. The supervisor threatened to call security on the agents.
Nevada state law requires that all gambling activities be open to the public–even the high stakes gaming. When the complaint was filed, Nevada regulators mentioned they had encountered similar issues at other MGM resorts.
Observation Not Welcome
The agents were standing about six feet from the roulette gaming. When the supervisor accosted them, one of the agents asked if games were not open to public view. The supervisor told the agent that “observation of the roulette wheel was not welcome.”
These issues had arisen at the Aria Casino before. In 2010 and 2013, MGM Resorts was informed by Nevada regulators these problems existed. Each time, MGM Resorts said they had set new policies to correct their employees’ conduct. After the incident became known, Aria’s management said it has educated employees about Nevada gaming laws.
MGM Resorts operates 11 different casino operations in the Las Vegas area. These include the world-famous MGM Grand, Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay. Their other properties in the area include the Luxor, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Excalibur, Circus Circus, Aria, and Slots-a-Fun Casino.
Aria Casino and Resort
Aria Resort and Casino is part of the CityCenter complex on the Las Vegas Strip. The CityCenter is found in Paradise, Nevada and consists of the Aria, Harmon Hotel & Spa, Veer Towers, the Crystals, Mandarin Oriental, and the Vdara Spa.
The Aria opened on December 16, 2009. The resort has two towers, including a 61-story and a 51-story tower. Inside the complex are over 4,000 guest rooms and suites, 10 bars and nightclubs, and 16 restaurants. The casino gaming floor contains 150,000 square foot of space. The pool area outside has room for 50 cabanas. The site also has an 1,800-seat theater, which features the Cirque du Soleil show Zarkana.
Gaming Regulators and Signs
Fines for casino gambling operators are not out of the ordinary. One Atlantic City casino recently was fined $6,000 for forgetting to post outdoor signs with problem gambling phone numbers on them. Most of the infractions involve higher fines for more blatant violations of gambling law. For instance, when the problem gambling fines were handed down, the Borgata Casino was fined $60,000 for allowing 3 different underage gamblers to bet at their tables. In one of those cases, a member of the staff was so lax they saw “Underage” stamped on a drivers license, and still allowed the 19 year old to gamble.
The Sands Bethlehem near Philadelphia has been fined 5 times in 5 years, including several cases of underage gambling. An off-the-Strip casino in Las Vegas was fined this year for not keeping enough cash on hand to cover all wagers, if the casino lost them. In this particular case, the same issue had arisen on two other occasions. This forced the Nevada Gaming Commission to threaten the ownership with revocation of the casino’s license–the most serious penalty gaming operations can face. In whatever jurisdiction, a gaming license tends to be a virtual license to print money, given the way the house edge works.
The Aria Casino fines are inexplicable, because MGM Resorts apparently has had similar issues in the past. The $100,000 fine should be a reminder to MGM’s leaders that Nevada gaming regulators are serious in enforcing game rules, even when it is something which involves discomfort for the much-needed high rollers.
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