October 6, 2023 3 min read


NGCB Rules in Favor of Trespassing Winning Player at the Casablanca Mesquite

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has ruled that the Casablanca Hotel-Casino in Mesquite will need to pay a jackpot won by a trespassing player

The Casablanca Hotel-Casino in Mesquite, Nevada, will need to pay over $2,000 in slots jackpots to Rhon Wilson, a player who was previously kicked out of the venue, but decided to violate the trespass statute, re-enter the casino, and keep gambling.

He Did Now Pay for His Drink

Originally, Wilson was escorted out of the casino because he failed to pay for a drink. However, over the course of the following months, Wilson came back to the casino several times and won slot jackpots on three different occasions.

According to the split 2-to-1 vote from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Casablanca casino will have to pay the $2,045.18 jackpot that the gambler won while trespassing the property he had been banned from. The regulator argued that most casino operators would not take the time to track down all of their trespassed patrons who had lost money and pay them back. 

NGBC’s chair and executive director, Kirk Henrick, mentioned the board’s rich history of asking operators to pau patrons who had won a jackpot while also emphasizing that there were no written policies on this topic as part of the regulations. Henrick further explained that, provided a casino’s staff would pose a ban on a patron, it is partially the operator’s responsibility to make sure that the respective patron does not enter the premises without their consent. 

Not Wanting to Award Bad Behavior

However, according to fellow panel member George Assad, the fact that a certain policy has existed for several years should not mean that it should be applied in the present. 

According to the retired Las Vegas Municipal Court’s judge, casinos should focus on discouraging “that type of illegal activity” by not paying trespassers, even if they lose money. Assad reiterated that he does not want to reward “bad behavior.”

Mesquite Gaming LLC’s vice president of security and government affairs, Dick Tomasso, explained to the three-panel members that Wilson preferred to pay a misdemeanor fine and go back to the venue to gamble. 

Tomasso further argued that the patron knew the current gaming enforcement policy would let him hold on to his winnings, based on three past occurrences when he was caught in a similar position of violating a trespass statute. 

The VP of security and government affairs emphasized that the player had broken the law to enter their casino and gamble, thus committing a crime to place a wager, emphasizing the “profound effect” of the board’s ruling on all Nevada licensees. 

This did not convince chairman Hendrick and board member Brittnie Watkins, who considered it more important for licensees to pay jackpots to winning patrons, in spite of being convicted of a misdemeanor. The board’s decision is a final one that does not have to be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The matter will be further addressed at a forthcoming regulatory workshop that will take place on October 18.

At the end of August, Nevada’s gambling regulator reported the total gaming win in July had reached the $1.4 billion mark, showcasing an excellent growth year-over-year.  In July, the same body issued a warning regarding an increase in the number of scams targeting casinos via social engineering tactics.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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