WSOP Players Accuse Vendor of Harassment

WSOP Players Accuse Vendor of Harassment
WSOP responds to vendor allegations

There has been one consistent complaint during each of the last few years of the World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas. Players and reporters alike have been annoyed by one particular vendor that sells mobile device chargers and headphones.

Vendors can rent space in the Rio Convention Center during the seven weeks of the WSOP, and those companies then line the main hallway between the Convention Center entrance and the tournament rooms. Players, reporters, fans, and employees all must walk past the vendor booths at least twice – often many more – per day.

Allegations

Being an annoyance is not grounds to revoke a license to operate in the Rio hallway. It was often noted by WSOP attendees in past years that the phone charger salespeople were annoying, always talking to people as they walked by, sometimes yelling at them.

This year, the tactics seem to have gone well beyond what may have been deemed annoying. Or perhaps the tactics alleged this year have only been brought into a bright light by a voice that is not often ignored in the poker community.

Joey Ingram is known for his passionate love of PLO as well as his in-depth podcasts that often address issues from which others shy away. And today, Ingram decided he had enough of the phone charger salespeople and their harassment. He took it even further to allege that the men at the booth have also been sexually harassing women at this year’s WSOP.

This video brought a lot of issues to the fore:

Ingram did a preliminary investigation into the products themselves, which seem to be sold by Las Vegas-based Pro Royal at a massive markup, i.e. hundreds of dollars for items found online for $5 to $20. He found numerous negative reviews of the products online and called into question the legitimacy of the company’s sales tactics, pricing, and product quality.

The crux of the complaint, however, is the way the Pro Royal employees treat everyone walking by the booth at the Rio. Outright harassment is the primary focus of stories relayed to Ingram, but employees also allegedly harass people who try to walk by and ignore them. And their misogynistic and harassing treatment of women is said to be truly disturbing.

People quickly responded to Ingram’s video with stories and comments of their own:

WSOP Responds

Seth Palansky has been with the WSOP for years, now serving as the Editor-in-Chief of its website. He also handles media relationships, and he did respond quickly today when asked about the alleged harassment from Pro Royal.

As to the vetting of the company, Palansky responded, “The company and its principals get vetted prior to us providing booth space. In this company’s case, they are all throughout Vegas, at casinos, at Miracle Mile Shops, etc., so they are well known. That said, we don’t have authority to scrub employees of another company. That is the company principals’ domain.”

With regard to harassment, Palansky said:

“We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment. We would use our rights in our contract to terminate the relationship. We have not received any formal complaints in regard to this matter. We would take any complaints seriously. If anyone has had or has an issue, they should immediately report it to any security team member in a yellow shirt, and it will be handled from there following company protocols.

“We have spoken to the company and made them aware of the allegations and have put them on notice. We are adding additional surveillance coverage as well in this area to have additional eyes.”

Editorial Note

To everyone at the WSOP, it is incumbent upon anyone who is the victim of harassment or who witnesses it to report it immediately. Mentioning it on Twitter is not sufficient. Per Palansky, it should be reported to a member of the security team wearing yellow shirts, and it wouldn’t hurt to mention it to other WSOP staff as well.

Please file reports. It may take a few minutes or more, but it will likely result in the end of the harassment.

 

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles