The Nevada Supreme Court agreed that Wynn didn’t violate the Nevada Employment Law when it changed its policy to give supervisors a cut of tip money...and more industry news

Dealers at the Wynn Las Vegas must share their tips with front-line supervisors, according to a ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court.

The court agreed with the Nevada labor commissioner and the state District Court that Wynn didn’t violate the Nevada Employment Law when it changed its policy to give supervisors a cut of tip money as the dealers are employed at-will. Without a contract spelling out who gets the tip money, the dealers didn’t have a legal leg to stand on, the court said.

The court further ruled that the Nevada Employment Law does give the state Labor Commissioner to decide whether employees’ claims are valid, not state courts.

But the court did not order the dealers bringing the lawsuit – Daniel Baldonado and Joseph Cesarz – to reimburse Wynn for its attorneys’ fees, saying the case was based on reasonably supportable arguments.

Florida Supreme Court rejects Seminole gambling appeal

The Florida Supreme Court has turned down an appeal of a lawsuit that invalidated a compact between Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Seminole Tribe of Florida that allowed the tribe to engage in certain types of Class III gaming at its in-state casinos.

After the compact was signed last January, members of the Florida Legislature, headed by House Speaker Marco Rubio, challenged the agreement, arguing that Crist didn’t have the authority to enter the compact without lawmakers’ approval. Florida State Court agreed, and so now does the Florida Supreme Court.

The next step will be for the Florida Legislature to take up the agreement, and that won’t occur until the new legislature is seated in January following the November elections.

First Illinois racino proposed as state takes gaming license bids

Six cities ringing Chicago have filed bids with the Illinois Gaming Board to secure the state’s last of 10 available gambling licenses, including one bid that could result in the opening of Illinois’ first racino.

Stickney, a suburb abutting Chicago’s western border, has filed a bid to convert the Hawthorne Race Course into The Champions Racetrack Casino and Resort. According to the chief backer of bid, Hawthorne President Tim Carey, the project would include a 40,000-sq.-ft. casino with 1,150 slot machines, 50 table games and a poker room. Adjoining the casino will be a 300-room hotel and conference center, a bowling lounge, restaurants, a movie theater complex, a water park and a 4,800-seat amphitheater.

Another prominent backer of the Stickney casino is former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka, who said one of the project’s restaurants would be a branch of his Ditka’s Steakhouse, located in Chicago’s River North area.

Other Chicago suburbs bidding for the license (from south to north) are Calumet City (partnered with 1893 Entertainment Group LLC), Country Club Hills (CCH Gaming Partners LLC and Chicago’s Gatling family), Rosemont (Trillant Gaming), Des Plaines (Midwest Gaming) and Waukegan (Waukegan Gaming LLC).  

Greektown Casino to be sold as it emerges from Chapter 11

Detroit’s Greektown Casino has put the entire business up for sale as it works toward emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The casino has hired the investment bank Moelis & Co. to see financing and potential buyers for the operation, to which a 400-room hotel will soon be attached. Greektown announced it will attempt to open about 200 of the hotel’s rooms for occupancy in January to benefit from events such as the North American International Auto Show; the early opening increasing its revenues to make up for missing financial targets last fall. All 400 rooms will be open by Feb.12.

On announcing the planned sale at a meeting of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Greektown CEO Craig Ghelfi immediately announced his retirement. The casino’s board of directors, he said, also would be decreased from 12 to five, with four of the members to be outside professionals with gaming experience necessary to shepherd Greektown through its troubled financial situation.

Greektown owes $755 million to banks, bondholders and former owners.

Iowa lawmakers to discuss expansion of gambling next year

Iowa lawmakers will likely spend a lot of time debating gambling issues when the state legislature reconvenes in January, the Des Moines Register reported.

After voters in Lyon County recently approved by a 62 percent majority a referendum to have a casino resort built near the town of Larchmont, Iowa House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it may be time to discuss an expansion of the state’s gaming industry. Besides Lyon County, McCarthy suggested the Legislature also consider awarding new gambling licenses for casinos proposed in Franklin County, and the cities of Fort Dodge, Ottumwa and Tama. The state could use the extra tax revenue additional casinos would bring, he noted.

Simultaneously, state Rep. Brian Quick proposed legislation to allow video keno machines in taverns.

An expansion of gambling in Iowa also could have an effect on nearby states. After a Lyon County casino was approved, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader noted that the Larchmont casino would be only eight miles from South Dakota’s largest city. That Lyon casino supporters argued that at least 20 percent of its revenues would come from visitors from South Dakota, the newspaper argued that to keep its revenues in state, South Dakota needed to build its own casinos in the southeastern counties of Minnehaha or Lincoln.