State gaming regulators and the big Las Vegas Strip casinos battled again Thursday over how rich a customer must be for admission to proposed “International Gaming Salons,” which allow high-rollers to gamble in private.
At the end of a three-hour hearing, the state Gaming Commission, which will make the decision next month, did not give any indication which side it favored.
The Legislature, in an attempt to lure high-end players, changed Nevada policy requiring open gambling to permit these private rooms for those who don’t want to rub elbows with the public.
A proposed regulation by the Gaming Control Board would require a person make a deposit of $1 million or have a $1 million line of credit or a combination of both. The Gaming Commission is now reviewing this proposal.
The Nevada Resort Association, which represents the big casinos in Las Vegas, said $500,000 should be the entrance requirement.
Attorney Jack Godfrey, representing the resort association, said $500,000 was a “substantial sum.” It would allow a broad range of casinos to compete for these customers.
Godfrey’s argument gained the support of Trusted Online Casino Singapore Commissioner Arthur Marshall, who said a person who has a line of credit of $500,000 has to be worth a lot more. He suggested the $1 million figure might put a crimp in business. And he said the regulation may be too onerous on the casinos.
Godfrey and Bill Bible, president of the resort association, said setting the $500,000 limit would also help in retaining some of the present customers.
But Control Board member Bobby Siller and board counsel Mike Wilson argued this law was passed to draw customers who are not coming to Nevada. It was sold to the Legislature by gaming officials who said these players now stay in Europe or other foreign countries that have these private casinos.
Siller said the casino industry was trying to “redefine” the law passed by the Legislature. He said it was “trying to pull in the existing market and that was not the intent of the law.”
Gaming Commission Chairman Peter Bernhard quoted from testimony to the Senate Judicial Committee by gaming officials that there were 20 to 50 of these mega high-rollers in the world. He said lowering the financial requirement to $500,000 would be a “significant reduction” and would make the private casino “less exclusive.” The intent of the law, he said was to find new players.
Casino officials, in testimony to the Legislature, also envisioned that $20,000 and upward would be bet on a hand. Under the proposed regulation, the minimum bet would be $500.
In developing the regulation, Siller said he initially proposed a $20,000 minimum bet. But then he acknowledged “betting habits” of some of these high rollers, who might lose a couple of hands and then scale back their bets.
Siller said the regulation was changed to require the financial requirements of the player. A survey of high-rollers at Las Vegas casinos, Siller said, showed the average wagers are between $60,000 and $140,000. And these players have credit lines ranging from $1.5 million to $5 million.
The casino association also objected to a section in the regulation that would permit only six “secondary players” in the private casino. These would be friends or associates of the high-roller. They would not have to meet the financial requirements but would be required to bet $500 a hand. The regulation also requires the minimum bet on a slot machine be $500.
The regulation would also require these players be identified. The big casinos didn’t like that proposed rule. And they opposed the rule that the private casino had to be shut down if the high-roller was either absent or not playing for an hour at the tables.