Former Golden Nugget owner Tim Poster, whose request for a preliminary finding of suitability from the Gaming Control Board was rejected two weeks ago, is appealing the recommendation to the Nevada Gaming Commission today.
Poster, 45, is hoping that a finding of suitability — one step below a full-fledged gaming license — will allow him to resume his position as chief operating officer of Wynn Las Vegas.
According to an opinion by the Nevada Attorney General’s office, Poster will need to gain approval from a simple majority of the commissioners to reverse the control board’s 3-0 vote, which rejected his application Dec. 4.
Only four of the five gaming commission members will be able to participate in the hearing. Commissioner John Moran Jr. will have to sit out the hearing because his son JT Moran III is one of Poster’s attorneys.
Poster is expected to challenge some of the allegations raised during a more than 4 1/2-hour hearing in front of the control board Dec. 4 in Carson City.
Regulators raised issues such as Poster’s past relationship with Rick Rizzolo, a former strip club owner with ties to mob figures, and allegations that he hid evidence from investigators.
Poster also was questioned about his illegal sports wagering activities on the Internet and allegations that he was acting as an agent for an offshore Internet sports book.
The rejection by the control board, rather than a denial, allows Poster to still work in the gaming industry as a consultant or in a position that doesn’t require licensing.
Control board member Terry Johnson said during the hearing that he was “having a tough time believing” Poster had been “plausible and credible” in his answers to the panel’s questions.
Issues of possible income tax evasion were raised toward the end of the hearing.
Johnson also asked Poster whether he had a gambling problem.
Poster acknowledged that his online sports wagering got of hand. He would bet $100,000 during a football weekend. He admitted wagering illegally with unregulated online sports books but added he didn’t realize the activity was wrong.
Also, Poster said he wagered heavily on websites associated with Pinnacle Sports.
The site’s owners are among 25 individuals indicted by New York state prosecutors more than a year ago for illegal Internet wagering activities.
Poster estimated that Pinnacle owes him about $800,000.
Poster co-owned the Golden Nugget from 2004 to 2005 with longtime friend and business partner Tom Breitling.
He was given a four-year limitation on the license and admonished to stay away from Rizzolo, who later was convicted of tax evasion and spent a year in prison.
Poster said that he hadn’t seen Rizzolo in nine years but that the limitation didn’t bar Rizzolo from being a Golden Nugget customer.
He said “safeguards” were set up to warn him if Rizzolo was on the property.
Poster was employed by Wynn Las Vegas as executive vice president of strategy and development when he was named chief operating officer last March.
He resigned after only a few weeks on the job because of the gaming suitability investigation.
Poster was seeking suitability for TP Interactive, his own company. He said he has an opportunity to work again with Wynn Resorts if gaming regulators find him suitable.
In Carson City, Poster brought along high-level support for the hearing: Breitling, who is the chairman of Ultimate Gaming; Station Casinos board member and Ultimate Fighting Championship owner Lorenzo Fertitta; former Wynn Resorts executive Marc Schorr; and Las Vegas advertising executive Sig Rogich.
Poster co-founded Ultimate Gaming with Breitling, but he is no longer associated with the company, which is majority owned by Station Casinos and operates UltimatePoker.com.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.