Some fine day it was for the Nevada Gaming Commission, as late last week the regulatory body set a record fine of $5.5 million against Las Vegas sports book CG Technology as recompense for illegal bets placed by a top executive, and the same day took in a $125,000 fine from slot machine manufacturer Bally Technologies, Inc. as settlement on a 28-count complaint that included failure to register key employees with the Gaming Control Board (GCB).
Punitive Fines for Gaming Companies
“Today is a bad day,” said Gaming Commissioner Tony Alamo. “This is an enormously large sum of money. This is a revenue get. That’s not our goal. Our goal is to punish [those who violate regulatory statutes].”
From that standpoint, at least one commissioner – John Moran Jr. – didn’t think the Bally’s fine was high enough. Moran said that company had been fined for similar misdeeds six years ago – albeit just $65,500 back in 2008 – and clearly hadn’t learned their lesson since. But the Board overall defended the fine, based on the fact that Bally did self-report a few of the missed registrations after an internal audit revealed the mistakes.
Bally acting attorney Ellen Whittemore noted that the fine made its point to the company’s top brass. The GCB complaint was filed late in December; Nevada law says every employee of a gaming operator must be registered with the state.
For CG Technologies, the fanny smack was a bit harder: Alamo told the company’s CEO Lee Amaitis that the news coverage garnered by the incident “gave Nevada a black eye,” and that should anything like this ever happen again, “I am not afraid of revocation [of your operator license.]”
To reiterate that point home, Gaming Commission Chairman Peter Berhard noted that the largest-ever fine was to draw attention to the reality that “people will be held accountable.”
Despite the massive fine, things could have been worse; the three-member board had the option to either suspend or completely revoke CG Technology’s license.
Like a man who wisely knows when to shut up, Amaitis took the Commission’s verbal pillorying in silence, and also said nothing to the press following the brief 20-minute hearing.
Executive Caught in Illegal Betting Op
The 18-count complaint against CG Technology (formerly known as Cantor Gaming) went public in early January. In it, regulators noted that former Cantor risk management director and vice president Michael Colbert was allowed to operate an illegal sports betting ring – using three messengers – in order to place bets for Gadoon Kyrollos, a high-roller customer. In that capacity. Colbert and his cronies reportedly placed some $34 million in illegal bets.
Last year, Colbert pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy for his part in the illegal ring, and is still awaiting sentencing in federal court.
This settlement shows the company itself admitting to 14 counts outlined in the complaint, with the Board noting it could prove one of those counts as directly related to Colbert’s management of the illicit operation. CG Technology neither admitted nor denied anything mentioned in three additonal counts in the paper, and both Cantor Fitzgerald Chairman Howard Lutnick and Amaitis put their John Hancocks on the settlement.
Talk about a good day to carry a flask around with you and take a swig in the john.
CG Technology’s sports book operations can be found at several Las Vegas on-and-off-the-Strip properties, including the Hard Rock Hotel, Tropicana Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Venetian, M Resort, the Palms and the Silverton. The company also supplies information as Las Vegas Sports Consultants and has mobile wagering capabilities.