(Fred Weinberg/The Penny Press) – It is time that we disassembled the membership of the Nevada Gaming Commission, used some sanitary method to pry the current membership’s lips from the posteriors of the big gaming companies, as well as their lobbyists, and start over.
You may think that Tony Alamo, Jr., John Moran, Jr., Joe Brown, and Randolph Townsend are distinguished paragons of Nevada’s political class. They certainly would like you to think of them that way. But their actions in the case of Dotty’s make me think of two things. One is the 1999 Clark County Commission, four of whom went to Federal prison, and two is that scene from the movie Casino where the County Commissioner tells Robert De Niro, “We don’t like your kind here.”
In fact, it’s probably time that we completely rewrote the laws to encourage—gasp!—competition and foster an atmosphere of innovation instead of the mess we have now.
Last week, the Gaming Commission struck a blow against economic development by essentially ruling that a chain of “taverns” or “slot arcades,” depending on what the meaning of the word “is” is, had to restructure their business. Or go out of business.
And it wasn’t enough to just screw Clark County—or, as I’ve come to think of it, Somalia—which I could care less about. They also screwed Elko, Churchill, and Humboldt counties as well.
That, I really do care about because we also have a pretty big investment in rural Nevada.
So, what crime against gaming integrity did Dotty’s commit?
Did they have Alan Glick on their board of directors? Was Lefty Rosenthal running a TV show as their entertainment director? Were they sending skim to the Civila mob in Kansas City?
No. In fact, all of those guys are dead and immortalized in the movie Casino. That all happened years, decades before Craig Esty thought up the concept for Dotty’s, applied for and was issued a gaming license.
They even blew up Lefty’s caddie and had Tony the Ant killed before the license for the first Dotty’s was applied for.
No, what Dotty’s did was to apply for, receive, and successfully operate more than 60 well-lit, clean, little businesses where you, or for that matter, your grandmother, could go, be safe, throw some money in a video poker machine, smoke a cigarette, and have a beer all at the same time. Imagine that.
And, they were successful.
So successful that Station Casinos, which is still morally bankrupt if not financially bankrupt, hired their lawyers to go on down to the Clark County Commission to complain and put Dotty’s out of business.
Apparently in Nevada, if you can’t compete by building white elephants like Red Rock Station, then you can lawyer them to death.
But convincing the Clark County Commissioners that their pathetic political careers were in the hands of the gaming big shots wasn’t enough.
No, they wanted to wreak economic havoc all over the state. You know, send a real message. So in addition to dealing with a corrupt County Commission, Station Casinos and its lapdog lobbyists went to the state Gaming Commission.
And there, believe it or not, they found a sympathetic ear in Messers Alamo Jr., Moran Jr., Brown, and Townsend.
These clowns voted to retroactively make operations like Dotty’s add a bar to their operation. You read that right. They just used the power and majesty of the State of Nevada’s government (OK, maybe that’s a bit much. Majesty and Nevada State Government may be mutually exclusive terms.) to tell a business that they have to build a bar if they wished to stay in business. Not just any bar, but a bar that has at least nine seats.
The only vote against?
Commission chair Peter Bernhard. He took the right position and watched while Moran, Jr. had a particularly ugly exchange with former Gaming Control Board member Patty Becker, who now represents Dotty’s. Seems when she was on the Gaming Control Board, she once voted to toss Moran’s late father-in-law from the Stardust because, well, he was a crook.
These clowns have issued licenses to slave masters (Dubai World, City Center), Nazi banks (Deutchbank, the financial power behind Adolf Hitler, the Cosmopolitan), and allowed MGM Resorts to partner in Macau with Pansy Ho, who is arguably the daughter of China’s John Gotti, without raising one collective eyebrow.
But they want to run Dotty’s out of business?
It’s time to blow up that system and start over.