The regulatory body of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) showed its usual tough regulatory stance last Monday, by coming out with a decision to fine Caesars Entertainment the amount of $225,000. The fine is in connection with a casino-gambling binge that took place in Caesar’s Nevada casino in 2007. The incident involved a Nebraska entrepreneur named Terrance Watanabe, who gambled away as much $120 million, while under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs.
Based on the reports submitted by Caesars to the NJDGE regulatory body, the casino’s executive management failed to exercise sound judgment and tact, in dealing with the intoxicated Mr. Watanabe. At the time of the incident, he was in possession and use of illegal drugs while playing inside a Caesars Las Vegas casino. One of NJDGE’s concerns is that the lack of appropriate action failed to protect the casino employees from Mr. Watanabe’s sexual advancements and lewd conduct, during the gambling binge.
Although Caesars Entertainment has instituted disciplinary actions against three of the Las Vegas casino executives, as well as overhauled the company’s ethics and compliance policies, NJDGE still regard the mishandling of the incident as a violation of New Jersey’s licensing conditions. By allowing Mr. Watanabe to use illegal drugs while engaged in gambling activities and by ignoring the sexual advancements made against the casino employees, the highly publicized incident tarnished the reputation of New Jersey and the casino gaming industry, through Caesars’ affiliation as a licensed Atlantic City casino operator.