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Regulators let youths under 18 take part in charitable lotteries

Updated October 24, 2019 - 8:16 pm

Youths under the age of 18 will be able to participate in fundraising lotteries as long as winners of events aren’t awarded cash prizes, the Nevada Gaming Commission agreed Thursday.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners adopted amendments to regulations governing charitable lotteries and games as required in legislation signed into law in May.

Enabling youths to participate turned into a contentious issue as regulators crafted the new rules. In initial drafts, several organizations were concerned that a broad interpretation of the rules would prohibit youths from selling tickets for fundraisers or otherwise participating in programs developed by sponsoring organizations.

Organizations including Ducks Unlimited, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were concerned that the regulation could have affected their youth conservation programs because the regulation’s wording prohibited persons under the age of 18 from “entering, purchasing tickets for entry into, collecting winnings from or participating in the administration of … any charitable lottery.”

Commissioners struck a compromise by prohibiting youth participation in charitable lottery events only if a cash prize would be presented.

The new regulations also spell out how organizations must register to conduct a lottery, how they would limit sales to individuals within Nevada borders and how they would verify nonparticipation of persons 18 and under.

The regulation also prohibits persons under 21 from participating in “charitable games,” events involving playing blackjack, poker or bingo.

Representatives of the National Center for Responsible Gaming did not object to establishing an age limit of 18 for charitable lotteries, but advised regulators not to set it any lower because of concerns about problem gambling.

In other business Thursday, commissioners unanimously approved licensing an executive for a company that has been fined millions of dollars for violating Nevada gaming regulations over the past five years.

Tullio Marchionne, chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel for Las Vegas-based CG Technology LLC, won the commission’s approval after a unanimous recommendation for approval by the state Gaming Control Board on Oct. 9.

CGT, the operator of seven Southern Nevada sportsbooks, has paid three of the top 10 fine amounts assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, the most recent occurring in November.

Eleven months ago, commissioners fined CGT $2 million in a settlement after Control Board investigators determined that the company was taking wagers from outside the state, taking bets after events had concluded, made incorrect payouts to 1,483 bettors and misconfigured a satellite sports book betting station for the 2018 Super Bowl. The company admitted to all of the accusations and waived its right to a public hearing on the settlement.

Previously, CGT paid a fine of $5.5 million in 2014 when the company was known as Cantor G&W Holdings, and $1.5 million in 2016.

The company also was fined $12 million in 2016 for violations of anti-money laundering provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act by the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Commissioners concurred that Marchionne is leading an effort to change the culture at CGT with a new compliance staff.

CGT, the first company to introduce a mobile gaming app in Nevada and one of the leaders in in-running wagering, currently operates the sportsbooks at The Venetian, Palazzo, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel, Palms, Tropicana and Silverton.

It was the former operator at M Resort and in February, the company announced it was pursuing licensing for mobile gaming at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian and Palazzo.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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