STATION CASINOS PAYS STATE FINE

By JEFF SIMPSON
lasvegas.com GAMING WIRE

   CARSON CITY, NEV. - Station Casinos was fined and immediately paid 
a $475,000 penalty Thursday to settle a Gaming Control Board 
complaint for an anonymous mailer sent to voters earlier this year to 
discredit Clark County Commissioner Lance Malone.
   The flier was produced by Station Casinos' former executive vice 
president of government affairs, Mark Brown, and political consultant 
Tom Skancke after a last-minute decision saw Malone support 
construction of a neighborhood casino project opposed by the company.
   A state law requires that political mailers identify their source.
   Appearing at the Nevada Gaming Commission's monthly meeting in 
Carson City, Station Casinos Executive Vice President and general 
counsel Scott Nielson blamed the company's rapid growth for its 
failure to adequately supervise the actions of Brown and Skancke.
   "It's clear that Mark Brown did not act with the approval or 
knowledge of the top executives of our company," Nielson said.
   Brown, who resigned his position earlier this month, did not appear.
   Nielson promised commissioners that Brown's old job will not be 
filled, and said that he would personally supervise Station Casinos' 
political activities with assistance of the company's regulatory 
compliance officers.
    Brown and Skancke denied having anything to do with the flier 
before admitting their roles in producing the mailing sent in March 
to 39,000 residents in Malone's northwest Las Vegas district.
   The anonymous mailing portrayed Malone with cash stuffed in his 
pants, shirt pocket and shoe, and carried the admonition: "You Just 
Can't Trust Lance Malone."
   Malone lost his Republican primary re-election bid last month to 
civil engineer Chip Maxfield, who faces Democrat Lois Tarkanian in 
the Nov. 7 general election.
   The commission voted 5-0 to approve a Sept. 22 settlement agreement 
with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, although Commissioner Augie 
Gurrola said he thought the fine was excessive.
   "Mark Brown is more culpable than Station Casinos," Gurrola said.
   Commissioners Arthur Marshall, Sue Wagner and panel Chairman Brian 
Sandoval disagreed.
   "I think the fine is appropriate," Marshall said. "We're dealing 
with corporate arrogance."
    In other business, the commission:
   -Voted 5-0 to approve Mikohn Gaming's new Battleship slot machine 
despite concerns that the game could be viewed as a violation of a 
state regulation that  prohibits the distribution of gambling devices 
that might attract children.
    The slot game is loosely based on the Hasbro Inc. board game of 
the same name.
   Nevada gaming lawyer Ellen Whittemore represented Mikohn, and 
explained that Hasbro no longer advertises the game.
   "The evidence is that Battleship is not currently and primarily 
marketed to children," Whittemore said.
   Sandoval said he thinks the Battleship board game and related video 
games are marketed to children, but pointed to research indicating 
that the game is primarily marketed to adults.
   "My kids think Battleship is too slow," Sandoval said. "They have 
the game, but it's in the closet. It may not be scientific, but it's 
persuasive."
   The commission prohibited Battleship slots from being placed in 
gambling establishments where children may be present, such as 
convenience stores and supermarkets.
   -Approved the $365 million purchase of the Las Vegas Hilton by Los 
Angeles real estate developer Ed Roski Jr., who owns the Silverton 
hotel-casino, just south of Las Vegas along Interstate 15. The sale 
could be completed in November.
   -Voted 3-2 to refund more than $1 million to MGM Mirage for gaming 
revenue taxes the company argued it had erroneously paid on 
discounted debts owed by gamblers.

-- 
Dave Berns
Editor/Writer
lasvegas.com Gaming Wire
Direct: 702-380-4543
Fax: 702-383-4676

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