October 11, 2007 071011
Presented as a public service
by BJ21.com, the leading source of accurate
information about casino games and conditions.
Compiled by Al
600 rooms at Harrah's
closed -- Concerns about remodeling prompt move
As a safety precaution, Harrah's Las Vegas early Monday evening closed
about 600 of its hotel rooms, relocating affected guests to comparable
lodgings at sister properties nearby.
Oversight defended --
Official rebuts criticism of review of work at Rio, Harrah's Las Vegas
Clark County Manager Virginia Valentine attempted Tuesday to defuse two
controversial aspects to the county's handling of remodeling projects
at Harrah's Entertainment properties. Questions about those projects
have led to the closure of hundreds of rooms at Harrah's Las Vegas and
Constant need to
renovate challenges gaming industry
Randall Sayre, a member of the state Gaming Control Board, said he
hopes the permitting problems are limited to Harrah's Entertainment
properties. He does not feel the need to look
at other gaming companies at this time, but he said that could change
if the final investigations by the gaming company and the county end up
showing problems could exist elsewhere. "Clearly this is a profound
issue with regards to public
perception," Sayre said. "I don't think it is right, at this point, to
push a great deal of expense through the entire industry to go look for
plus county laziness equals serious public danger
Arrogance is not unique to Harrah's Entertainment. But in recent weeks,
the company's actions have been the most flagrantly arrogant in a
company town known for corporate arrogance. ...
Those of us who were in Las Vegas when the MGM Grand burned 27 years
ago remember that 83 building code violations were found ... after the
A quiet debut
A new Desert Diamond casino is expected to open quietly today. Workers
at the 165,000-square-foot casino near East Los Reales Road and South
Nogales Highway were busy applying the final touches Wednesday.
Thanks to Green Chip member Flatpick
for submitting this link.
rejects high-roller lawsuit
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up an appeal Tuesday from a high
stakes California gambler who claimed he was defrauded by the Paris Las
Vegas in 1999.
over casino halted -- Eleventh-hour bankruptcy filing stops investors'
A civil trial involving investors who lost money in a failed casino
venture was postponed indefinitely Monday after the co-defendants filed
for bankruptcy hours before its start.
causing cooperation between sports groups and gambling outlets
In September 2005, a stranger from the Midwest walked into an MGM
Mirage casino here and bet around $20,000 against the University of
Toledo football team. Casino officials grew suspicious: It was an
unusually big wager for a school like Toledo, which was heavily
favored. They wondered whether the bettor had inside information that
the game was rigged. ...
"The leagues have a public stance that, 'We don't like gaming, we don't
like Vegas.' But the reality is that without Las Vegas and without
sports betting, their giant empires would crumble," says Ted Sevransky,
a professional gambler and sports handicapper based in Las Vegas. He
credits gambling, in part, for sports' high television ratings and, by
extension, for big TV deals signed by pro leagues and the NCAA. "Sports
betting is the hidden fuel," he says.
the radar, Caesars dealers push for union
For decades, dice and card dealers resisted unions, preferring to watch
out for themselves, pocket their own tips and cut their own deals for
choice shifts. But a new culture among dealers is emerging. It surfaced
this year at Wynn Las Vegas, where dealers organized in anger over how
their tips were being shared with supervisors.
far, track is clear for Station to go private -- Locals casino operator
says it plans to keep building
Steve Wynn invited the wrath of Wall Street soon after the 1999 opening
of his $680 million Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss., which earned less
than analysts expected.
Plans New Atlantic City Casino
MGM Mirage Inc. announced Wednesday that it plans to build a
mega-casino resort worth up to $5 billion that will dwarf anything
Atlantic City has seen before.
explosive ending to take about 18 seconds
A series of sharp bang-bang-bangs will be heard at first, followed by
the thud-like sounds of heavier explosions ripping through the building.
alleges fraud -- Cache Creek suit accuses lawyer, financial adviser
The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians, owners of the Cache Creek Casino
Resort, filed a bombshell lawsuit Tuesday that claimed their longtime
lawyer and financial adviser swindled the tribe for years, even as they
guided its members from poverty to immense wealth. Link
to copy of lawsuit.
Indian band wants say over CAW workers
In a case that's expected to help define the limits of native
self-government in Canada, an Indian band operating a highly profitable
casino near Port Perry, Ont., says the province's Labour Relations Act
does not apply on its land.
Judge sides with Barona tribe over selling alcohol at casino
An administrative law judge is recommending that the Barona Band of
Mission Indians be allowed to continue serving alcohol at its massive
casino resort north of Lakeside over the opposition of county officials
Macau imports Vegas service workers
Chinese customers at the newly-opened 3,000-room Venetian Macau are
experiencing a taste of Las Vegas-style gambling, glitz and luxury on a
law, Blue Man Group drags out union fight
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 720 won
an election 16 months ago to represent workers at the Blue Man Group's
show at the Venetian.
a bold move, teachers reach for gaming's pockets ...
So now the moment of reckoning has arrived.
Gaming tax boost
popular -- Union leader says 70 percent of voters would back increase
More than 70 percent of Nevadans will support a petition to raise the
gaming tax by 3 percentage points and raise an estimated $400 million a
year to fund higher teacher pay and school improvements, a union
president predicted Tuesday.
Homeless camping on
They hang "Do not disturb" signs from their doorknobs. Some make their
beds in the morning. Artwork even hangs on a few of the walls of this
one-time Strip motel. Less than a mile south of the golden-windowed
towers of Mandalay Bay, the homeless have found a new place to stay --
inside the shell of what was once the Klondike Inn.
Las Vegas could
learn a few things from Reno
Reno vs. Las Vegas. We can't help but to compare and contrast Nevada's
two urban centers. Having lived in both places, I've always tried to be
a voice of reason on the subjec
The Bear Growls: Harrah’s
apparently put patrons’ lives at risk to save a few dollars
Long-time Las Vegas-based advantage player, casino critic,
contributor LVBear offers his opinions on things that sometimes go
wrong in the world of casinos.
Current and past growls can be read and comments posted at LVBear's
latest incident involving shameful corporate behavior by Harrah’s is
mind-boggling. Though the story is still unfolding, what is known so
far is reprehensible. When Harrah’s remodeled some floors of the Rio,
it managed to avoid county building and safety inspections. According
to news reports, apparently Harrah’s personnel or contractors blatantly
lied to the county about the scope of the remodeling, or the county
inspectors were so incredibly inept they failed to see an entire floor
After a whistle-blower exposed the wrongdoing, it appears that Clark
tried to cover it up. It is not yet known whether this was an internal
coverup of its own incompetence by the county, or whether Harrah’s is
involved in the coverup. It appears that a combination of both is most
As of this writing, the County has revoked the occupancy certificate
for two floors of the Ipanema
Tower at Rio
and ordered the evacuation of guests from the possibly unsafe rooms.
The investigation continues, but so far no outside agency has become
involved. Surely, an apparent crime of this magnitude is
a matter for police and/or the District Attorney. But
oddly, Rick Maddox, the county employee in charge of the investigation,
is the very person who is either so incompetent he didn’t notice the
obvious, or was previously hoodwinked by Harrah’s, or had some other
reason to not do his job properly. Obviously Mr. Maddox
has a conflict of interest “investigating” his own misbehavior and/or
It’s too early to predict what will happen. If the
allegations against Harrah’s are true, someone should go to prison. The
culprits are probably some Harrah’s executives, as well as corrupt
county officials who willfully participated in allowing the remodeling
to go forward without proper permits and safety inspections. Was
it done just to save Harrah’s a few bucks on inspection and permit fees?
Was it done to slip through shoddy and unsafe workmanship,
putting guests at risk? Were country officials paid off
to look the other way? Unfortunately, I
suspect we will never learn the truth. While
our corrupt, grandstanding District Attorney David Roger is personally
prosecuting O.J. Simpson for the type of crime casino guards routinely
commit but never get prosecuted for, the Harrah’s crimes will be swept
under the rug, and it’ll be business as usual. Shame on
Harrah’s, and shame on Clark
BUILDING PERMITS AND SAFETY INSPECTIONS: Rio rooms close
Tower open, safe — Officials investigate remodeling
Just a little ‘cosmetic work’ — What was county doing when it came to
OCCUPANCY REVOKED: Two Rio floors closed
The scandal worsens — another local
Harrah’s property was improperly remodeled
As a safety precaution, Harrah’s Las
Vegas early Monday evening closed about 600 of its hotel rooms,
relocating affected guests to comparable lodgings at sister properties
nearby. Jan Jones, an
executive at Harrah’s Entertainment, said the company voluntarily took
the step because an ongoing internal investigation had revealed that
several larger remodeling projects at Harrah’s on the Strip took place
without the necessary permits.
“Voluntarily”? What a joke. They did it because they got caught, plain
and simple. There is no reasonable possibility that Harrah’s management
didn’t know this work was done without the proper inspections and
permits. There is no reasonable possibility that the county didn’t know
this work was done without the proper inspections and permits. Because
of the good work done by the newspaper in exposing the wrongdoing,
despite Harrah’s and the county’s best efforts to cover it up, now the
finger-pointing will begin.
“We value the trust that our guests
and communities have placed in us, and the only way we can maintain
that trust is to be completely open about the results of the
investigation,” Jones said in a statement.
600 rooms at Harrah’s
Does anyone “place trust” in Harrah’s? If so, I have some fine swamp
land for sale. I deeply hope that one day soon Harrah’s is destroyed by
an Enron-like scandal, and the slimeballs that run this horrible
company are exposed for what they are.
It’s interesting to note that another former public employee has
crossed the line and accepted employment at Harrah’s, joining former
Las Vegas mayor Jan Jones as a publicity and “government relations”
Batjer was a respected public servant with responsible government
positions before she apparently checked her morals and ethics at the
door and entered Harrah’s. Shame on Marybel Batjer.
Already the politicians are ducking
for cover and the Harrah’s mouthpiece is changing which foot is
in her mouth:
In an interview Tuesday, Jones
emphasized that the company has identified problems at only two of its
Las Vegas properties and expects to find nothing more.
“We believe, and our investigation
has found, these incidents appear to be isolated to the two floors at
the Rio and the 500-plus rooms at Harrah’s Las Vegas,” she said. “We
are fairly confident we have identified the rooms, and they are
isolated to the Rio and Harrah’s.”
“Fairly confident”? I think she means they are “fairly confident”
that nothing else will be uncovered during the present "investigation”
headed by the same buffoon who let it happen in the first place, then
apparently lied about it in official reports.
“Gary Loveman takes very, very
seriously his role in being the leader of integrity for Harrah’s
Entertainment,” Jones said.
The sleaziest reptile in the entire casino industry is a “leader of
integrity”? Pardon me while I throw up.
The state attorney general’s office
says it’s up to local authorities to investigate potential criminal
aspects to the remodeling problems. …
But two Clark County agencies say
it’s not their job to investigate, either.”Our office is not staffed to
investigate criminal matters. Rather, we receive requests for
prosecution from local law enforcement once they have completed their
investigations,” said Christopher Lalli, head of the criminal division
of the Clark County district attorney …
But the hands of Las Vegas police are
also tied, according to police spokesman Jose Montoya. “I’m not sure
that we would get involved. It’s not a criminal act. It’s more a civil
act,” Montoya told the newspaper last week. He did not change his
response when asked whether remodel managers for Harrah’s Entertainment
should have known to seek permits, and might have covered up faulty
The county investigation of the Rio
led to closure of two floors for remodeling that bypassed county safety
procedures. One county official says the Rio failed to adequately
protect holes between floors so smoke won’t spread during a fire. …
Official rebuts criticism of review of work at Rio, Harrah’s Las Vegas
“It’s not our job.”
Sickening, corrupt, cowardly public officials.
Two opposing views: Gaming regulator takes usual
do-nothing approach: "I don't think it is right, at this
push a great deal of expense through the entire industry to go look for
In other words, let's not ask the greedy casinos to follow the
law in protecting guests against hazards. Mr. Sayre is an
embarrassment, and should resign immediately.
A well-informed long-time local columnist who understands how things
work in Las Vegas:
Arrogance isn't admirable, but
incompetence and sloth aren't so terribly commendable. Our crack
officials at the Clark County Development Services couldn't find there
was a problem at the Rio when Frazzetta came to them in August 2006 and
said the Rio had undergone major remodeling without permits or
inspections. Sure they checked six months after he complained. But all
that the keenly perceptive supervisory building inspector Rick Maddox
could find was that the work was original and not remodeled. Case
closed. Now he's in charge of the Rio reinspection, with supervision of
course. That's just so reassuring. How hard will he look for the things
he couldn't see before?
As pointed out previously, having this buffoon in charge of the
"investigation" is beyond ridiculous.
Information about this scandal will continually be updated on www.TheBearGrowls.com
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