Advantage Gamblers Disadvantaged?
By dave
A Nevada Gaming Control Board member is asking the attorney general for 'guidance' about the limitations on the use of force by casino security personnel and the legal rights of advantage gamblers, who are able to gain an edge in casino games by employing legal means such as card counting or taking advantage of mistakes made by dealers or other casino employees. Although the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that advantage gambling -- including such techniques as card counting, shuffle tracking and playing slot machines that are paying out more than their fair share -- is legal, several Nevada lawyers say there is a pattern of casino security personnel and state gaming control officers using intimidation and excessive force to deter advantage gamblers from playing at local properties.

Advantage gamblers say they were illegally detained, questioned and abused by casino security guards and control board agents and even charged with unrelated minor crimes after being caught using advantage gambling techniques in Las Vegas casinos. Bob Siller of the Nevada Gaming Board claims there is “nothing new about this treatment”.

Siller's request for a letter opinion on what Nevada's gaming regulations and laws on advantage gambling are and should be have been referred to Mike Wilson, the assistant chief of the gaming division in the attorney general's office.

Wilson, however, said he could not discuss the current laws because Siller instructed him to refer all such questions back to the control board member. He also said he could not comment because of his 'lawyer-client' relationship with the Gaming Control Board.

'You have to ask Siller,' Wilson said. Siller, however, declined to comment any further on the current regulations pending an opinion from Wilson.

Gary Peck of the Nevada ACLU chapter found the two officials' refusal to comment further on the state's laws 'very disturbing.'

'This sort of gamesmanship is very troubling and raises questions about their view of their jobs. They are supposed to be serving the general public. These songs and dances only serve to undermine the credibility of the Gaming Control Board and, indirectly, of the gaming industry itself,' Peck said.

Las Vegas professor and casino gambling expert Bill Thompson added the state government 'must have a clear policy that can be reviewed by the courts. This is the state depriving people of their rights. The state is playing the issue off the cuff, and (the law) needs to be cleared up.'

Spokesman for Harrah's Entertainment and MGM Mirage said their companies simply ask advantage gamblers to leave, which Nevada courts have said is within their legal rights.

MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman added, however, 'the suggestion that they're just using their brain power is a real oversimplification. They're abusing a system that is set up to reward people for their play. Ultimately, other customers are taken advantage of in the process.'

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