Hard Rock pays price for public sex acts
By Linda
Out there in cyberspace, you can visit the Playboy casino, gay casinos and lesbian casinos online, but for sheer bacchanalian delights, only Las Vegas will do. As the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will attest, after being hit with a $100,000 fine to settle complaints about public sex acts in a nightclub at the resort and for other problems.

Nevada Gaming Control Board investigators have been investigating the casino for several months after complaints about lewd behaviour, Gaming Control Board member Bobby Siller said.

Investigators listed three counts of 'inappropriate sexual conduct' by patrons at the property's Baby's nightclub, according to a July 12 gaming board complaint.

The complaints said that on July 15, 2001, surveillance footage of Baby’s revealed “overt sexual activity taking place in a seating area above the dance floor in a so-called 'private' booth that is visible to the public' – which is in violation of state gaming regulations. The complaint said that the offences occurred in the presence of Hard Rock security officers.

The complaint said public, inappropriate sexual conduct by patrons in the private booths was witnessed by board agents on July 20 and was recorded again by surveillance video on July 22. In all cases, the activity in the 'private' booth was visible to the public.

Baby’s was also cited for failure to make a timely application for approval of one of its officers. The company's director of finance, James Brown, did not file for licensing until June 20, 2001, though he had been elected as an officer in April 2000, the complaint said.

Other complaints included: surveillance cameras being used inappropriately by staff to monitor patrons 'beyond the time necessary to reasonably determine whether illegal activities were occurring,' and cameras being aimed at gaming board agents who were investigating the property.

Hard Rock President Don Marrandino and company attorney Jeffrey Silver on July 1 agreed to settle the allegations by having the casino take corrective actions and pay the fine.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will have the final say on whether to close the matter by accepting the fine.

The complaint is part of a wider investigation of Vegas casinos and hotels, which seem to be using risqué environments to draw a younger audience, Siller said.

Enforcement agents have been going out to various casino nightclubs 'almost every night' to make sure they aren't breaking the law, Siller said.

But the Nevada Gaming Board isn’t acting as a moral arbiter, Siller says: “We don't set any moral standard of behavior. We just hold licensees accountable to operate within established guidelines and the parameters.'

'We want people to have a great time, but they have to operate within existing city ordinances and laws, ' Siller added.

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