Boyd Gaming to Pay $300K Fine for Detaining, Handcuffing Wrong Fremont Casino Player

Posted on: September 25, 2020, 04:08h. 

Last updated on: September 25, 2020, 10:16h.

Boyd Gaming was fined $300,000 by the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) on Thursday for the “wrongful arrest” of a Fremont Hotel & Casino slot player who was accused of stealing another player’s credits.

Boyd Casino
Boyd Gaming, seen above, must pay $300,000 for the detainment of a Fremont Hotel Casino slot player (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

A security guard handcuffed the suspect for 90 minutes last November while she was detained in a side room. At one point, the guard allegedly grabbed her by the neck and arm.

The guard in question also screamed at the guest, threatened her with jail, and was forced to give up money that belonged to her, Ed Magaw, a Nevada deputy attorney general, told the commission. The officer was “harsh” and “overly hostile,” Magaw added.

The woman eventually handed over $200 of her own money to the casino, so she could leave the downtown Las Vegas gaming property, news reports revealed.

The actions were reviewed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) and on Thursday NGC Chairman John Moran Jr., said he was “very troubled” by the events. He chose to “reluctantly support” the complaint settlement, indicating the amount was not enough.

Fine Higher in Future, Chairman Warns

But Moran also gave a stern warning to other casinos and gaming companies to avoid such actions, noting in the future, the penalties will be higher.

I am not going to support only a $300,000 fine. It’s going to be a lot more,” Moran admonished the gaming industry about any future complaints.

Steve Thompson, executive vice president for operations at Boyd Gaming, told the commissioners that “embarrassment” is not a “strong enough” word to describe how company officials feel about the incident. The “security officer failed at almost everything he was trained upon,” Thompson said.

It appeared, based on a review by a Boyd security chief, that “We had an officer who went into hero mode instead of doing his job,” Thompson said. The security officer and other casino officials also failed to adequately review surveillance video and slot machine records that day, officials revealed.

The apprehended player called the company’s hotline to report the incident three days after it took place. It took several days for the information to get to Boyd’s internal compliance staff. Once there, compliance staff and other officials did their own review. They then spoke with the wrongfully accused player and Boyd’s board members were notified. The company self-reported the incident to Nevada gaming officials.

Boyd Settles

“We have settled with the patron,” Thompson reported to the commission. He did not provide details of the settlement.

A.G Burnett, Boyd’s attorney and a former NGCB chairman, told the NGC incorrect information was initially relayed to Las Vegas Metro officers and NGCB agents that night. Casino employees and officials also disputed the claim and the NGC meeting.

Since the incident, Boyd has modified its company-wide policies on arrests, detainment, and use of handcuffs. Now, a casino manager also needs to be consulted before a guest can be detained by security officers.