Gaming regulators reject former casino exec’s suitability request

Former Golden Nugget owner and Wynn Resorts Ltd. executive Tim Poster struck out Wednesday to gain a preliminary finding of suitability from Nevada gaming regulators, an initial step toward receiving a full-fledged gaming license.

The Gaming Control Board spent more than 4½ hours grilling Poster at a hearing in Carson City over several issues raised by agents in their investigation, including Poster’s past relationship with Rick Rizzolo, a former strip club owner with ties to mob figures, and allegations of hiding evidence from investigators, illegal sports wagering on the Internet and being an agent for an offshore Internet sports book.

The three-person board unanimously rejected Poster’s request.

“This was originally a look into if you had any dealings with Mr. Rizzolo,” control board Chairman A.G. Burnett said. “It turned into something else.”

The Nevada Gaming Commission, when it meets Dec. 19, would need to rule unanimously to overturn the control board’s recommendation. The rejection, 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 he was “having a tough time believing” Poster had been “plausible and credible” in his answers to the panel’s questions.

Poster, 45, co-owned the Golden Nugget between 2004 and 2005 with longtime friend and business partner Tom Breitling. Poster was employed by Wynn Resorts for several years and was named chief operating officer for several weeks. Poster was seeking suitability for TP Interactive, his own company. Poster said he has an opportunity to work again with Wynn Resorts if gaming regulators find him suitable.

“Tim has been successful in Las Vegas, Tim has given back to the community, and Tim wants to continue to contribute to the industry,” attorney Mark Clayton told the control board.

Poster brought along some high-level support for the hearing: Breitling, the current 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.

Poster said he resigned his position with Wynn earlier this year because he didn’t want the suitability investigation to reflect poorly on the company. He left Ultimate Gaming so the company could move forward with its licensing in New Jersey for interactive gaming.

When he was licensed as an owner of the Golden Nugget, Poster was given a two-year limitation and admonished to end his relationship with Rizzolo, who later was convicted of tax evasion and spent a year in prison.

Poster said that Rizzolo was “a very profitable and sought-after casino customer” and he wagered at the downtown resort. But Poster had an understanding that the limitation didn’t bar Rizzolo from being a Golden Nugget customer, and “safeguards” were set up to warn him if Rizzolo was on the property.

“When agents asked in 2013 if I had terminated my relationship, I told them I had,” Poster said “I have not been in he company of Mr. Rizzolo in the past nine years.”

Clayton said Poster did not hide any additional computers, cellphones and email accounts from investigators. He said Poster’s sports wagering habits should not be used against him. Other Nevada licensees have committed the same offense.

Poster told the control board he did not know it was illegal to make sports wagers on the Internet. He thought the law only pertained to the offshore books. Also, he would bet as much as $100,000 on football, often on credit.

The control board members focused heavily on Poster’s wagering habits, including the size of the wagers and how he included friends into the wagers.

Poster admitted he continued to place wagers with offshore sports books even after he realized the activity was illegal.

Johnson asked Poster why he didn’t reveal that information to those participating in the wagers him.

Johnson also asked Poster if “gambling is something that you struggle with?” Poster said, “No.”

Control board members said Poster wagered with Pinnacle Sports, a offshore sports book currently at the center of a New York state and federal investigation into illegal online wagering. Owners of Pinnacle were indicted.

Control board member Shawn Reid read the names of some of the 25 people who were indicted and were associated with Poster and placed wagers with Poster. Reid said several of the those indicted visited Wynn Las Vegas and Encore during the time Poster worked there.

Agents were concerned that Poster was an agent for Pinnacle. Poster told the control board he wasn’t a Pinnacle agent.

“New York law enforcement officers advised Tim that he is not a target nor the subject of investigation regarding the Pinnacle Sports case,” Clayton said.

Poster told the control board he is owed at least $700,000 to $800,000 by the offshore sports book.

“I wish I had not done what I did,” Poster said. “I wish I had not bet on the Internet.”

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like