United States: Gaming & Hospitality Legal News: Volume 11, Number 6

HOW TO BANISH THE BLACK MARKET AND ENSURE INTEGRITY: WHAT STATES LEGALIZING SPORTS BETTING FOR THE FIRST TIME CAN LEARN FROM NEVADA AND LEGALIZED CANNABIS STATES

By Jennifer Gaynor, Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Jeff Silver, and Greg Gemignani

Integrity, integrity, integrity. The integrity of the game is a top concern of regulators and the college and professional sports leagues as legalized sports wagering expands across the United States. But what steps can regulators take to ensure that the "fix" is not in on games being wagered upon?

In theory and in practice, legalization of sports wagering provides a better framework to track and trace aberrations in betting patterns that may indicate game fixing. After all, if sports wagering is illegal, there is no one monitoring the action to ensure that those placing wagers are not being ripped off by game fixing. Once wagers are placed in a legal setting, you can bet that the legal bookmakers will be watching the betting patterns closer than anyone to make sure they are not being taken for a ride. And the veteran Nevada sports book operators who are sure to be running many of the books in newly legalized states have the experience in tracking the numbers to know when something is off.

Indeed, Nevada sports books have long assisted regulators – and the leagues – in uncovering game-fixing schemes, such as the 1999 Arizona State Sun Devils point-shaving scandal, by tracking and notifying regulators when they have spotted irregular betting patterns.

But what about the black market? In theory, the legalization and regulation of sports wagering should bring the industry into the light, allowing the wagering action to be taxed and the backroom sports books to be shut down. And that certainly is an important policy goal of regulators. But it isn't necessarily that simple.

States drafting their sports wagering laws and regulations can learn a lot from another black-market activity that has been legalized in a number of states – cannabis – to better understand the impact that legalization has had on the black market for cannabis in those states.

The surprising result: the black market has not magically disappeared in the states where cannabis sales have been legalized. One of the key reasons why is the simple fact that legal cannabis prices are generally higher than black-market cannabis because of the additional costs of state-mandated testing, security systems, etc., and, of course, taxes. Coupled with a lack of adequate resources and funding for local law enforcement to crack down on illegal cannabis sales, this makes for a thriving black market, even in states that have legalized cannabis.

What can the regulators who are drafting sports-wagering laws and regulations take away from this? We would not advocate stepping back from drafting the laws to legalize sports wagering, as a lack of any legal market would only help the black market. Instead, regulators should just keep this issue in mind as they draft regulations and try to find a balance between meaningful regulation and over-taxing and heavy regulatory requirements that will add to the costs of legal sports wagering in a way that will either make it unprofitable for legal sports books to operate or make the costs of such wagers so high that bettors continue to seek backroom options.

ONCE A "PATRON," ALWAYS A PATRON?

By Jeff Silver, Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Jennifer Gaynor, and Greg Gemignani

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (the "Board") has been delegated the responsibility of resolving disputes between casino customers and the casinos pursuant to the process for patron disputes outlined in NGC Regulation 7A. This includes, for example, making determinations as to whether a jackpot was wrongfully withheld or in fact caused by a machine malfunction that voids the play. As the impartial gaming professionals, the Board acts as the neutral arbiter of these consumer and licensee protection cases. Courts have also given great deference to the findings of the Board by limiting the scope of appellate review of such patron dispute cases.

This orderly process may be threatened, however, by an interesting "patron dispute" that has recently moved from the Board to Nevada's Eighth Judicial District Court (the "court") with the filing of a request for judicial review in the matter of Tsun Young v. Nevada Gaming Control Board and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Case A-18-775062-J), filed May 23, 2018.

Tsun Young (the "Petitioner") attempted to redeem six $5,000 denomination Hard Rock Hotel (the "Licensee") chips for a total of $30,000 – first in January 2011 and then more recently in October 2016. These requests for redemption were denied by the Licensee. The Petitioner ultimately hired legal counsel and proceeded with the formal "patron dispute" procedures. (Normally, a licensee is required to inform the Board when there is a dispute involving a sum of at least $500, although in the proceedings below, there was no mention of any report having been made to the Board in 2011.)

As the Petitioner exhausted his administrative remedies, the court appeal was preceded by a hearing before the Board's Hearing Examiner followed by a request for reconsideration by the Board. In each instance, following an investigation, the finding and recommendation of the Board against the Petitioner was affirmed.

The payment denial was predicated upon the evidence adduced at the hearings that showed that, although the Petitioner had been a "rated player" at the casino during the period between 2008 and 2011, and had somewhere between $335,300 to $1,700,000 in chip buy-ins, the Licensee's records of play detail did not show that the Petitioner lawfully possessed the $30,000 in chips through game play at the casino. The Petitioner was unable to recall exactly when and how he came into possession of the six $5,000 denomination chips.

The Petitioner attempted to show by "expert testimony" that during his play, he was "rat holing" or "going south" with the chips, in which he would surreptitiously and periodically remove a chip or two from his stack on the table so that the casino personnel assigned to rate his play would see a diminished bankroll and record a loss greater than had actually occurred. The Petitioner believed that this process would earn him a higher level of complimentaries for his play. Although plausible, because of a lack of notice to the Licensee, the testimony was not deemed to be admissible.

More interesting is the Board's second grounds for denial of Petitioner's claim: the finding that he was not a "patron" of the Licensee. The Hearing Examiner concluded that in order to be a "patron," the Petitioner had the burden to show that he was a casino "patron" who came into possession of the chips while engaged in gaming, as opposed, perhaps, to customers who would walk into the establishment for non-gaming play. The Hearing Examiner relied upon a prior unreported District Court decision that indicated that in order to be a "patron" for purposes of seeking a resolution through the Board's patron dispute process, a person had to be "a customer of the gaming establishment that obtained the chips through a game, tournament, contest drawing, promotion or similar activity."1

Although the term "patron" is liberally referenced throughout the Nevada gaming statutes and regulations (including references to "patrons" when discussing customers at club venues where no gaming occurs), surprisingly, it has never been specifically defined.

There are many reasons why casinos should reject the redemption of their casino chips without an adequate record to show that they were derived from legitimate play. Chief among these are the plethora of anti-money laundering statutes and regulations that charge casinos, as financial institutions, with a heavy responsibility to "know" their customers and closely track their casino actions. Failures by casinos to monitor patrons' play with detailed logs and to file requisite reports to FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) have resulted in substantial fines.

Among the questions for the court to resolve is whether the Licensee's system of recording play was accurate and reliable for these purposes and whether the Petitioner had proved that in this instance he was a "patron," allowing him to bring this action utilizing the Regulation 7A patron dispute process.

Gaming attorneys and casino executives who are charged with tracking patron play and dealing with patron disputes will be closely following this case to learn if the seldom-challenged regulatory framework that gives high deference to the Board in resolving such patron disputes will be left intact.

Footnote

1 Porter v. MGM Grand Hotel/Casino (2013), Case # 2013-7893L.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Jennifer J. Gaynor
Kate C. Lowenhar-Fisher
Jeffrey A. Silver
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Dickinson Wright PLLC
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Dickinson Wright PLLC
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions