Wynn Las Vegas Slots Attendant Reignites Legal Battle Over Tip-Pooling

Posted on: April 25, 2023, 02:40h. 

Last updated on: April 26, 2023, 12:06h.

A slots attendant at the Wynn Las Vegas is suing her employer over its past tips-pooling policy, which she says violated labor laws, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Wynn Las Vegas
The Wynn Las Vegas, above, was the only casino on the Strip to adopt the controversial tip-pooling policy that ended in 2018. (Image: Wynn Resorts)

Sheila Little is asking a court in Clark County, Nev., to grant a class action on behalf of Wynn Las Vegas slots attendants who have been financially damaged by the casino’s policy, which involved sharing tips with supervisors.

The lawsuit accuses the casino of “appl[ying] a mandatory tip-pooling and tip-confiscation policy … which deprived tipped employees of lawfully earned tips in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

A similar complaint representing around 1,000 Wynn Resorts dealers was settled by the company in 2021 for $5.6 million after 15 years of litigation. Now, slots attendants hope to hit the jackpot, too.

Little’s suit is asking for damages in excess of $15K, plus compensatory damages equal to the full amount of tips unlawfully withheld from the casino’s slots attendants.

15-Year Feud

The dispute dates to 2006, when the operator’s then-chairman and CEO, Steve Wynn, adopted a policy that cut supervisors into the tip-sharing pool for 12%. Wynn Las Vegas was the only Strip casino that pooled tips.

The casino had opened just a year earlier. It was one of the most fashionable resorts on the Strip, and gamblers were tipping big.

Wynn created the “casino service team leads” position by merging floor supervisors and pit bosses into a single role. Still, the so-called team leads were often paid less than their underlings because of all the tips flying around. Wynn was concerned this would disincentivize employees to seek promotion.

The dealers argued the operator should have raised the supervisors’ salaries out of its own pocket.

Their lawsuit was bounced around from courtroom to courtroom, as Wynn argued that “casino service team leads” weren’t supervisors, and were therefore eligible to get a cut of the tips under federal labor laws.

Tipping Point

In 2018, Wynn resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. His successor, Matt Maddox, quickly sought to address the issue.

Maddox raised the pay for “service team leads” by 33% and cut dealers’ hourly rates by a dollar, while allowing them to keep all of their tips.

The settlement the dealers’ received was far short of the $50 million they had requested, leaving them with slightly more than $4,000 each after extensive legal fees.