Nevada Casino Forced to Pay Thief Following Slot Win

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Winning in a casino while committing a crime doesn't mean the casino doesn't have to pay the winnings. That's the decision of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) in a case that will likely have casinos lobbying to change Nevada gaming policies.

Criminals Can Win, Too

In a contentious decision on Wednesday, the NGCB ruled that a thief who had been expelled from a casino but managed to secure a slot machine win must receive the owed amount. Rhon Wilson, the lucky player, will receive the $2,045.18 he won from the Casablanca Hotel in Mesquite as per the ruling made by the officials.

Following a 2-1 NGCB split vote, George Assad, a former Las Vegas city judge and a member of the board, expressed his disagreement with the decision, which had been made in response to a complaint involving a conflict among casino players.

Related: Vegas Casinos Face Federal Investigation for Illegal Activity

Players are disadvantaged when it comes to resolving conflicts, where the scales of fairness tend to tip away from their favor and toward casinos. Frequently, replays reveal unpaid winnings caused by the faulty performance of slot machines.

Upon taking the matter to the commission, Casablanca insisted that the jackpot ought to be refused, given the fact that Wilson had previously been asked to exit the casino. The gambler, who had skipped out on drink payments, returned to the casino on seven separate occasions. He managed to win playing the slots three times over the course of the following months.

Serious Debate Ahead

At the Control Board's public hearing, Dick Tomasso, the individual responsible for security and government affairs at Mesquite Gaming LLC, revealed to its members that Wilson had discovered a cost-effective solution. Rather than complying with the ban, which could have led to a misdemeanor charge with a small fine, he continued to return, winning considerably more than the fine would cost.

Tomasso highlighted that the NGCB possesses the requisite authority to impede individuals on the banned list from claiming their winnings. He asserted that Wilson not only violated the law by entering the premises of the casino but also further transgressed the law by engaging in gambling activities.

The casino's position is that Wilson won while in the process of committing a crime. Therefore, it shouldn't have to pay. The NGCB disagreed, and the decision is not eligible for appeal.

Anticipation looms for an ensuing dispute, as the move will undoubtedly ignite controversy on whether criminals should be permitted to collect winnings from gambling establishments. On October 18, the Control Board is set to host a conference revolving around the very essence of this matter. Undoubtedly, one of the key deliberations will be whether penalizing those players who profit financially is acceptable.

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