Gambler Denied Jackpot at Casablanca Mesquite Must Be Compensated

Posted on: October 5, 2023, 06:26h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2023, 06:26h.

The Casablanca Hotel-Casino in Mesquite, Nevada has been ordered to pay a $2k slots jackpot to a gambler who was previously banned from the establishment. Despite being kicked out seven times, the lucky player managed to sneak back in and win big.

Casablanca, Mesquite, Rhon Wilson
The Casablanca in Mesquite, Nev., above. The casino requested the control board adjudicate on a patron dispute where a jackpot winner had been kicked out of the premises seven times. (Image: Casablanca Resort/Twitter)

Rhon Wilson was initially banned from the Casablanca Hotel-Casino for failing to pay for a drink, but he managed to return to the establishment and win jackpots three times over several months.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has ruled that the casino must pay Wilson his winnings. Most operators would not invest the time and resources to track down banned individuals who have lost money, ensuring they are paid back.

Ensuring Payment

Dick Tomasso, vice president of security and government affairs for Mesquite Gaming LLC, informed the panel that Wilson realized it was more profitable to pay a misdemeanor fine and continue gambling at the casino. He knew that the gaming enforcement policy would allow him to keep his winnings, as it had done so three previous times while he violated the trespass statute.

“Your action will have a profound effect on all your licensees in the state of Nevada,” Tomasso warned the board.

NGBC Chair and Executive Director Kirk Henrick acknowledged that the board has a longstanding practice of requiring casinos to pay out jackpots to patrons. Although this policy is not officially outlined in regulations or laws, Henrick emphasized that if a casino bars an individual, the operator shares responsibility in ensuring the person does not reenter the premises. Operators must “follow through” on their decisions, he maintained.

A Dissenting Opinion

Retired Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad was the sole dissenting voice on the panel.

Assad argued, “Just because a policy has been in place for years doesn’t mean it should be followed. It’s a good policy to discourage illegal activity. Not paying the trespasser would be a deterrent… If they lose money, that’s their own responsibility. I don’t want to reward bad behavior.”

The other panel members acknowledged Assad’s concerns, and the matter will be addressed further during an upcoming regulatory workshop on October 18.

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