Although the Nevada Gaming Control Board had recommended approval of a gaming license for Blaine Graboyes, the CEO of GameCo, a skill game maker based in Las Vegas, the final arbiter of the decision, the state Gaming Commission voted 4-1 to reject his bid for licensure. Graboyes had been operating on a temporary license for two years while he clear up some tax issues and liens, and was requesting to be granted an unencumbered license.
Graboyes, known as “Blaine Goldman” in the submission, did not convince the members that his ownership of intellectual property from a bankrupt company known as Beyond Gaming, was above board. Graboyes spend two years as a consultant to Beyond Gaming from 2012 to 2014. Although he claims to have worked hard to make Beyond Gaming a success, he offered $50,000 to buy the technology produced by the company at a time he alleges the company was worthless. When that bid was rejected, and the company declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Graboyes acquired the IP. But a former executive with Beyond Gaming, Justin Yamek, alleged that Graboyes engineered the bankruptcy, a charge Graboyes denied.
Graboyes was grilled for nearly four hours by commissioners about a 300-page report compiled by the Dickinson Wright law firm about the Beyond Gaming situation. He claimed he worked diligently to bring success to Beyond Gaming, and says he did nothing wrong.
“I spent more than a year working to try and salvage this company,” Graboyes said according to CDC Reports. “I’ve been incredibly transparent through this process. There was nothing that I was aware of that I needed to disclose.”
He blamed his lawyers for failing to bring this to his attention.
“It doesn’t feel right, and I can’t reconcile it,” said Commissioner Ogonna Brown. “I have trouble with the veracity of the statements he has made today. I don’t feel like he has been truthful. I believe denial is an appropriate step.”
Graboyes was ordered to divest himself of any interest in GameCo, throwing the future of the company into doubt. He told the commission that the company has deployed only 16 machines, four in Oklahoma and 12 in Nevada, while employing 31 people.
In a statement to GGB, GameCo said Graboyes has been removed as the CEO.
“Consistent with its ongoing search for team members to fuel its growth, GameCo will be appointing a new CEO in due course,” said the release. “Leadership responsibilities have been assumed by the existing GameCo management team, led by senior company executives Art Hamilton, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer, and Rich Maryyanek, head of global business development, together with Robert Montgomery, chairman of the Board of Directors, and Seth Schorr, board director, who will provide enhanced support and oversight of the company. In addition, Board Observer Adam Rosenberg will provide further guidance to the executive search process. GameCo’s senior team has been instrumental in the company’s success to date in driving forward a mission to create new casino gaming experiences.”
In his testimony before Nevada regulators, Beyond Gaming’s Yamek implicated Montgomery in the scheme to obtain the company’s IP. He outlines the history of Graboyes’ involvement in Beyond Gaming, and how the bankruptcy proceedings came about.
“The bankruptcy paperwork was signed off by our board member Robert Montgomery, a cofounder of GameCo. They left the prototypes and intellectual property off the bankruptcy. GameCo now has VGMs on casino floors that are similar or nearly exactly the same as the concepts we developed at Beyond Gaming. Blaine used Beyond Gaming’s whitepaper that explains the VGM to get two patents.
“It was devastating to say the least. We trusted Blaine and he crushed our dreams. A close-knit team of approximately 10 Beyond Gaming employees, from founders to interns, had to part ways after so much excitement. It was very hard on everyone. He was a mentor and father figure to many of us. Not only did it hurt our company, it hurt us personally… We will never forget what Blaine and Robert did to us. They left deep scars that have yet to fully heal.”
GameCo was one of the first companies in the skill-games field in the gaming industry with a product Graboyes called video game gambling. Another early entry, Gamblit, closed its headquarters and manufacturing facility in California in March 2020.