Caesars Entertainment agrees to pay $100,000 fine over underage gambling, drinking

Caesars Entertainment Corp. of Las Vegas has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine after investigations found minors gambled and drank at four of its Las Vegas casinos.

Newly disclosed Nevada Gaming Commission records show that nine incidents were documented between January 2010 and May 2012 at Caesars Palace, the Rio, Harrah’s and the Flamingo.

The incidents involved customers between the ages of 17 and 20. In some cases, they weren’t asked for identification. In other cases, they produced identification showing they were underage but were allowed to gamble anyway, records show.

The state Gaming Control Board filed the complaint July 10 with the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Jerry Markling, chief of enforcement for the board, said it appeared that none of the incidents involved casino personnel knowingly allowing underage patrons to gamble and drink. Rather, casino workers who asked for identification likely didn’t look at it closely enough to realize the players were under age. None of the instances involved false identification, he said.

“They weren’t focused enough on what they were doing,” Markling said.

In at least one instance, a dealer “misread” a passport and permitted a 19-year-old to gamble, the complaint says.

Markling said several of the incidents were self-reported by the casinos, including instances where the underage gamblers tried to cash in their chips and were carded at the cage, where workers determined they were under age.

In one incident, a 17-year-old drank and gambled at craps tables at Harrah’s for more than five hours on Aug. 3, 2011, the complaint says.

Despite the legal drinking and gambling age being 21, the minor was served at least six alcoholic beverages by four Harrah’s employees, the complaint says.

The minor was in contact with the four drink servers, at least two dealers, a floor supervisor and at least 10 other Harrah’s employees, none of whom asked for identification, the complaint says.

The minor eventually was arrested by Metro Police on a warrant.

“If Metro had not arrested the minor, it is possible the minor would have left Harrah’s of his own volition and the Gaming Control Board would not have learned of this incident,” the complaint says.

The complaint says Caesars Entertainment had been put on notice about problems with underage gambling after four incidents between January 2010 and September 2011.

It says enforcement efforts were stepped up with the filing of the complaint with the Gaming Commission because the problems continued.

“Respondents’ (the casinos) continued failure to maintain compliance with the law necessitates that the board file this complaint with the Nevada Gaming Commission,” the complaint says.

“This failure of measures taken by Caesars to prevent minors from consuming alcohol and gambling on the premises of its licensed subsidiaries reflects or tends to reflect poorly on the reputation of gaming in the state,” the complaint says.

The conduct at the casinos also “acts as a detriment to the development of the gaming industry and/or reflects discredit upon the state of Nevada or the gaming industry,” the Gaming Control Board alleged.

In agreeing to pay the $100,000 fine to settle the complaint, Caesars Entertainment admitted the allegations and agreed to file a report with the board spelling out steps that have been taken to deal with the problems for which it was cited.

The Gaming Commission will consider the settlement at a future meeting.

Caesars Entertainment spokesman Gary Thompson said Wednesday that the company couldn’t comment on the complaint.

“We have a very strict policy against underage gambling, as exemplified by our commitment to the Project 21 underage gambling program,” he said.

That program includes employee training and public awareness about underage gambling.

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  1. While I don't blame Caesar's Entertainment for overlooking some underage gamblers/drinkers, there needs to be more oversight in the whole industry. And not to tell the casinos to help parents do their job as parents, it should be highly discouraged that parents of children small enough to fit into strollers bring their young ones to Vegas with them on vacation. If they do, then the parents should have the common sense not to bring their minors to the casino floors and establishments that serve alcohol if they can help it. And casinos should ask loitering families on the floor and in bars to leave for more family friendly venues such as food courts, arcades like at Excalibur/Circus Circus, and the large garden areas like Bellagio to rest. I personally have never seen so many young kids as I did in my recent visit to Las Vegas let alone older minors. I understand it's summer, but Disney Land, Lake Mead, and other family friendly tourism centers are available. Enough with the kids and older underage people in Vegas, it's an adult playground!

  2. This has been going on for decades. Time to lower the drinking and gambling age to the voting and military age, or raise the others.