Gaming Commission fines four Missouri casinos

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Gaming Commission met Wednesday to discuss disciplinary actions against four casinos from around the state among other business.

Ameristar in St. Charles, Bally Technologies, Harrah’s in North Kansas City, and Tropicana of St. Louis, better known as Lumiere Place, all faced disciplinary actions for findings in audits from 2015.

The most debated of the four actions was the one levied against Lumiere Place in which dozens of casino employees failed to properly identify a minor drinking and gambling on the casino floor using a fake ID.

An audit found that the woman visited the casino floor multiple times over the course of four days in July 2015. Seventeen licensees checked her ID and failed to determine it was fake, and she came in contact with 61 casino employees on the floor who failed to check her license as well. The audit determined 35 of those 61 had a reason to check her for an ID and failed to do so.

While the auditors recommended a $10,000 fine the Board of Commissioners argued that a customer should not have to be carded by over a dozen employees in a day and that many of those workers on the floor had cause to believe she was of age because she had been carded by a licensee.

Eventually, the board decided on a $5,000 fine, voting 4-1 in favor of the measure. Only Chairman Herbert Kahn voted in opposition. He said he favored no penalty.

Other disciplinary actions included an approval of a $20,000 fine against the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. An audit found the casino had five violations after a follow-up to a May 2015 compliance audit.

Some of the violations included a lack of documented investigations into chaos variances, allowing the director of player development to have access to wagering and promotional accounts, and numerous instances where poker dealers failed to “clear their hands.” Clearing one’s hands is a practice where poker dealers hold their hands open before leaving a table to assure patrons and security cameras that they are leaving the table empty handed.

The Harrah’s in North Kansas City was fined $5,000 because terminated employees were found to have access to casino slot counting system more than 72 hours after their termination. After a follow-up on the initial audit, some employees still had that access.

The commission also approved new rules to allow EDS employees to accept tips in the form of cash and not tickets, and changes to tipping systems used at table games like poker and blackjack.