Nevada regulators hand out record fine for Laughlin casino’s security guard incidents

A judges gavel sits on a pile of dollars
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A Laughlin casino has been fined a record $500,000 by Nevada gambling regulators for a pair of incidents involving its security officers. 

The incidents, which happened at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort & Casino in 2022, involved a patron who refused to leave a slot area and a resort employee who was falsely accused of smoking marijuana during his shift.

In both cases, people sustained injuries at the hands of the security guards.

The patron was thrown to the ground and reported a leg injury while the resort employee hit his head and was unconscious for 18 minutes while being placed in a holding cell by resort security staff.

Riverside Resort & Casino officials appeared before the Nevada Gaming Commission and were questioned why the incidents were not investigated until months after they happened.

“I believe the business judgment of the company should have been to report when an employee is falsely accused and knocked out for 18 minutes. That to me seems pretty egregious and something that should voluntarily be disclosed,” said Commissioner Ogonna Brown. “Having a patron that’s supposed to be moved out of a certain area and then hospitalized because he was shoved down to the ground on his face, that’s something that should have been disclosed I think out of your own volition.  

At the time of the incident, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police determined the guards involved should be arrested on charges of coercion with physical force and false imprisonment however the charges were downgraded and then dismissed when the security officers stayed out of trouble and completed impulse control counseling.

At the hearing, Riverside accepted the company’s wrongdoing and confirmed that four out of the five security guards involved were fired and the fifth guard was reassigned. 

It admitted that the company didn’t assess the personalities of the guards involved prior to their hiring however this policy has now changed. 

“We now have a new security director,” said Riverside’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Laughlin. “By bringing in outside professional security training, I believe that there’s a complete mindset of how [and] what to look for when we’re hiring. We raised our wages significantly to get better quality security.” 

The $500,000 fine handed to the Riverside Resort & Casino surpasses the $300,000 paid by Boyd Gaming following an incident that saw Boyd security staff handcuff a slot player who was accused of stealing another player’s credits. The final figure was negotiated and agreed between Riverside and the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Encore fined in Massachusetts

Riverside is not the only brick-and-mortar operation to fall foul of state regulators in recent times. 

Last month Encore Boston Harbo,r was fined $40,000 by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for its second violation related to offering in-state college sports wagers. The sportsbook took $163 in wagers on Massachusetts women’s basketball teams on Feb. 15 and $50 in wagers on a Boston College women’s basketball game on Feb. 19. 

This was its second violation in quick succession for which the operator blamed an issue with platform provider GAN, who it uses to audit wagers. In July 2023 Encore was fined $10,000 for accepting a bet on the Boston College women’s basketball team.