We often hear employees’ complaints about management. They frequently lead to lawsuits, contract negotiations and threatened walkouts. Disgruntled personnel rally against their “bad” bosses, which often gets media attention.
Here’s the reverse question. Is there recourse when an employee’s egregious mistake means great financial and public relations damage? The answer is often “no”, so an “oops” or “I’m sorry” may not cut it when the harm can be long-lasting.
Last December, a Trump Taj Mahal dealer in Atlantic City dealt three hours of mini-baccarat, placing eight unshuffled decks of cards, which came out in the same suits/number order, in a dealing shoe.  
Although ultimately caught, the mistake cost the Taj a net loss of about $400,000, plus a $100,000 fine from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). The DGE accused the Taj of failing to spot the security lapse, despite multiple casino supervisors viewing the surveillance system many times. The Taj fired nine employees, including three dealers and a supervisor, but the money is gone.
Across town, the new Golden Nugget had a similar incident, but management reacted differently. It has sued the 14 table players, requesting the court declare the game illegal and order the players to return the winnings.
Golden Nugget alleges that despite knowing something was wrong, gamblers continued their play by increasing their bets from $10 to $5,000. The 14 players won 41 consecutive hands and immediately cashed out $558,900 in chips. However, $977,800 remains unredeemed. Unlike the Taj, these dealers and supervisors recognized something was wrong, but had no solution so the game continued.
Three non-English speaking Chinese players are countersuing for discrimination, charging they were treated like “cheaters, swindlers and schemers.” One plaintiff says he was detained in his room for eight hours without food, water or an interpreter.
The Golden Nugget’s lawsuit also names Missouri card manufacturer Gemaco. It alleges the factory improperly certified the cards. It turns out Gemaco’s workers failed to activate a mechanical preshuffling device prior to delivery. Gemaco never discovered their mistake, but has acknowledged the deck’s defect.
Unfortunately, high-tech production methods, coupled with revised equipment regulations, are creating potential problems and the DGE has been criticized for relaxing compliance. Technology is great when it works under supervision. The Taj has since installed a $2.2 million digital recording system for improved surveillance capabilities, along with eight new surveillance officers.
Opinions may disagree as to blame, but someone clearly dropped the ball. Transgressions may mean firings, but financial restitution is rare. The properties’ reputations also frequently suffer public relations damage.
I’ve worked on both sides. So, staff members, with some obvious exceptions, most employers don’t want to ruin your life, work you until you collapse or rip you off. They just want productivity, a good attitude and conscientiousness.
Employment is a partnership that requires good faith from both sides, but truthfully, some mistakes are just unforgivable. Employers and employees should react with common sense.
Speaking of common sense, don’t you wish everyone had some? Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, which resemble ATM or credit cards and replaced paper vouchers, are facing controversy nationwide. Loaded with cash amounts from state governments, EBT cards expedite and simplify food purchases for the poor.
While most recipients are honorable, multiple states have tracked millions in redemptions at ATM machines in casinos, liquor stores, strip clubs and cruise ships. After a public outcry, many states have banned redemption in these specific locations.
The usual groups have protested that restricting access undermines the recipient’s dignity. They claim no proof exists that individuals actually use that money to gamble, buy alcohol/cigarettes or watch strip shows.
So of all the places to cash out, this is coincidental? It is economic waste/fraud and a public relations no-brainer. Although an industry advocate, I pay taxes and don’t want to pay for someone else’s slot play.
It is risky to allow accessibility to welfare funds in casinos. After decades of promoting the industry’s positives, the negative publicity could quickly set gaming back by reinvigorating gaming opponents.
Fortunately, proactive companies like Global Cash Access (GCA) now offer options that let states block EBT access at the company’s ATM, POS debit and credit card cash access machines network. This equipment is available at more than 1,000 casinos nationwide. After analyzing Bank Identification Numbers (BIN) GCA reports that 48 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., have opted to use the block. Delaware and Wyoming, both with very small populations, do not participate. I hope others follow this responsible plan.

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