|By Arnold M. Knightly, Las Vegas
Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sep. 17, 2009--In the wake of several incidents that have led to the closings of some of the Strip's racy nightclubs and topless pools, Gaming Control Board member Randall Sayre on Wednesday dispensed some "preventive medicine" that he said could save licensees some big money in the future.
"If I was a Nevada licensee and I had a nightclub on my property, I would be moving at light speed to assure I had appropriate enough access to ensure that they weren't doing something that was going to get me into trouble with the law," Sayre said.
He was speaking during the first board-sponsored seminar to help gaming licensees better understand regulations affecting public safety and law enforcement.
Sayre scheduled the "informational seminars" in response to problems that led the board to fine the Planet Hollywood Resort $500,00 for not exercising proper oversight of the Prive nightclub.
"What we're going to talk about today is common sense preventive medicine," Sayre said. "And I may save you some money. These fines can get expensive."
Sayre, however, brushed aside any suggestion that he is trying to make any kind of statement about what he believes is morally acceptable or not.
For him, the issue is preserving the state's economic lifeblood.
"I am concerned about the safety, the health and the welfare of those 40 million people who get off that airplane every year and come visit this venue and keep us alive economically," Sayre told a roomful of industry representatives.
In talking about board's action against Planet Hollywood, which leases space to Prive's owners, Sayre promised the board would continue to crackdown on operators if they don't act responsibly to control illegal and dangerous activities on their properties.
"I take no great pride in taking action against a Nevada licensee," Sayre said. "But in the absence of people taking responsibility for their own stuff, I have to the tools to effectuate change."
In response to a question, Sayre said casino licensees can't use their contracts with club operators to try to wiggle out of taking responsibility for what happens inside the clubs.
"We measure results," Sayre said. "You could have the tightest contract on the face of the Earth ... but if the property is not willing to take the necessary steps to enforce their rights, that's an issue (for the board)."
In addition to state gaming regulations, he said regulators and law enforcement officials can use county, state and federal laws to address any problems.
"I didn't have the authority to chase Prive nightclub," Sayre said, noting Prive was shut down by the county Business License Department, which pulled the club's temporary liquor license.
"I had the authority to chase the licensee," Sayre said. "And the board and the (Nevada Gaming) Commission said to keep doing it if there are problems out there."
Gaming regulators also reminded the attendees that they have the authority to issue licenses to businesses that have partnerships or relationships with gaming licensees, Sayre said.
"If you don't cooperate with us when we call you forward for licensing," he said, "then we'll just put you on the agenda and deny you anyway. Then you're a denied applicant and you can't do business with any Nevada licensee."
Nearly 250 gaming attorneys and casino owners' representatives attended the three-hour discussion Wednesday at the Cashman Center.
Most of the attendees, however, had little to say until the end of the seminar, when the discussion turned to the issue of oversight of nightclubs and topless pools at the resorts.
The earlier part of the session dealt with various issues, including advertising, promotions, tournament operations, race and sports book operations, intellectual property theft, issues of minors and payment of ticket-in, ticket-out vouchers.
The few questions that were asked mostly drew quiet groans.
A seminar for operators in Northern Nevada will be held Monday in Carson City.
Contact reporter Arnold M. Knightly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893.
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