Nevada gaming regulators failed to recommend Galaxy Gaming for a new license due to reservations about its founder, CEO, chairman and president, Robert Saucier, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week.
Following a two-day hearing of the Gaming Control Board, Galaxy, a Las Vegas-based developer of electronic casino table-games, withdrew its application rather than risk having it refused.
The board appeared to be on the cusp of unanimously finding Saucier unsuitable for licensing, a decision that would have made it very difficult for the company to attain any kind of approval in the future.
Galaxy had sought the new license to develop and distribute new games in Nevada, where it has operated for 17 years, providing 583 tables in 82 casinos, including MGM, Wynn, Caesars and LVS properties.
A refusal from the board would have put these installations at risk.
The Problem with Saucier
So what’s the board’s beef with Saucier?
It begins in the nineties, when he was the president of the Mars Hotel and Casino, a tribal operation in Spokane, Washington.
The Mars filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1997 and the abandoned property burned down in 1999. Fire investigators called it arson, but it certainly wasn’t an insurance job because Saucier had none.
In 2013, the Las Vegas Sun reported he was still “mired in lawsuits” with the Mars’ creditors.
He was subsequently turned down for licensing in Oregon following an investigation into his application by Ohio State Police, and then, in 2013, he was refused by the California Gambling Control Commission.
An administrative law judge in California accused Saucier of withholding or misstating crucial information to state officials about his past, including his schooling, criminal record, business dealings and lawsuits.
“Saucier was evasive and, in some instances, intentionally dishonest and misleading in his response to questions,” said Judge Catherine Frink “In a highly regulated industry such as gaming, the failure to be forthcoming with relevant information was inexcusable.”
It was also alleged that he signed licensing deals with California tribes without receiving permission from the state.
“Train Wreck” Application
As well as grilling Saucier on his habit of hiring accountants with criminal records, the Nevada Gaming Control Board this week asked him why California authorities had described his license application as “a train wreck.”
His lawyer, Bernhard said his client hated filling out forms and was “just sloppy” with his efforts.
Saucier had previously escaped the control board’s scrutiny because, as an associated gaming equipment provider, he is not subject to extensive background checks or to make recurring appearances before regulators.