The owner of the Golden Nugget Atlantic City was fined $15,000 by New Jersey gaming regulators for – get this – gambling.
Tilman Fertitta, the chairman of Landry’s which owns and operates the Golden Nugget brand, was cited by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for playing blackjack at Borgata and at Revel casinos a few times last year.
Fertitta violated a New Jersey regulation that bans holders of a “key casino employee license” from gambling in Atlantic City.
Both the Golden Nugget and the Division of Gaming Enforcement told the Press of Atlantic City that Fertitta was unaware of the ban.
“He feels bad because he didn’t know he couldn’t gamble in Atlantic City,” said Tom Pohlman, Golden Nugget’s general manager.
In Nevada, Fertitta’s gambling activities wouldn’t have been an issue. Under State Gaming Regulation 5.013, officers, directors, owners or key employees can’t gamble on table games or slot machines in their own establishments or affiliated casinos.
In other words, Fertitta could not play blackjack at his company’s downtown Las Vegas Golden Nugget, but he could walk over to the D Las Vegas and gamble away.
As such, under Nevada law, D Las Vegas owner Derek Stevens couldn’t gamble at his casino or at the Golden Gate, where he is a part owner. But he could play a few games at Binion’s.
The New Jersey law seems a bit antiquated. The market has suffered through six straight years of declining gaming revenues, so you would think the last thing the state would want is to restrict gamblers.