We Find these Truths to be Self-Evident

Crime and punishment are not always applied equally. The Nevada Gaming Commission made two decisions earlier this year that make one wonder whose side are they really on. Former regulator Richard Schuetz (l.) weighs in.

We Find these Truths to be Self-Evident

At a February 22, 2018, Nevada Gaming Commission meeting, Jesus Saucedo lost his ability to make a living in the casino industry in Nevada. Based on the description of events in the Las Vegas Review Journal, a newspaper owned by the chairman of the Las Vegas Sands, Mr. Saucedo stole a $5 chip from a poker table while working at Bally’s, and this had been captured by surveillance coverage of the casino’s cameras. There was additional footage of two other transactions that were also viewed, albeit from the description in the newspaper they were not as conclusive as the first. Following the hearing Mr. Saucedo went home to his family to tell them he no longer had a job.

Approximately one month earlier, the Las Vegas Sands paid $6.96 million to end a bribery probe. This was in addition to a $9 million civil judgment paid to resolve a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission bribery investigation. The day the $6.96 million payment was announced, the chairman of the Sands was in Washington D.C., sitting by Donald Trump, Mr. Trump was sworn in as president of the United States. Later that day the chairman of the Las Vegas Sands is reported to have had lunch with Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Paul Ryan.

A few years earlier, the Las Vegas Sands paid a $2 million fine to the Nevada Gaming Control Board relating to the above SEC investigation as well as for an investigation concerning alleged violations of anti-money laundering controls that involved an suspected methamphetamine dealer. This last situation was tied to the Sands paying a $47.4 million fine to resolve criminal charges brought on by what was described as the structuring of many millions of dollars of suspected drug money for a casino player to avoid detection by controls put in place specifically to prevent such transactions.

In the Las Vegas Review Journal coverage of Mr. Saucedo, it was never mentioned whether he was offered the opportunity to sign a non-prosecutorial agreement or of being able to write a check to resolve his issue with the $5 chip. It also appears that he was not invited to attend the inauguration.

Articles by Author: Richard Schuetz

Richard Schuetz started dealing blackjack for Bill Harrah 47 years ago, and has traveled the world as a casino executive, educator and regulator. He is sincerely appreciative of the help he received from his friends and colleagues throughout the gaming world in developing this article, understanding that any and all errors are his own.