Fremont facing fine for customer incident

The Fremont resort in downtown Las Vegas is facing an undisclosed fine for wrongly detaining and accusing a customer of theft, according to a four-count complaint filed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will consider a settlement in the matter, which was uncovered and self-reported by Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns the Fremont, on Thursday. Resort officials and security officers are alleged to have provided inaccurate information on the incident to both Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and state gaming agents.

A Boyd Gaming spokesman declined to comment Tuesday, but said company officials will make a presentation to the Gaming Commission at the hearing.

According to the complaint, gaming agents initiated an investigation in December regarding a November 24, 2019 incident in which Fremont security officers detained a female slot machine player after another customer accused her of stealing wagering credits. Neither the patrons nor the property’s security officers were named in the complaint.

“Although there were ample avenues available to reconstruct the alleged events, Fremont personnel failed to pursue those avenues,” according to the complaint signed by the Gaming Control Board. “Instead, they performed a cursory, incomplete, and factually flawed investigation, wrongfully concluding that the accused patron had committed the alleged act and was guilty of misdemeanor theft. A proper investigation would have revealed that the claim against the patron was not valid.”

The Control Board said the wrongly accused patron, to avoid being arrested for misdemeanor theft and taken to jail, “reluctantly and under protest” paid $202 to the female patron who made the allegation.

The detained patron later contacted Control Board agents and was informed that she could file a patron dispute, but was warned it could turn into a theft investigation.

However, nine days after the incident, Boyd Gaming’s director of regulatory compliance self-reported that the patron had been mistakenly accused of theft and detained by security personnel. Fremont officials, according to the complaint, provided an incomplete report of the incident to state gaming agents.

“The board faced a general reluctance on the part of the Fremont personnel to cooperate with the investigation,” attorneys wrote in the complaint. “This reluctance included sharing information, and when Fremont personnel did share information, it was often in one word or one sentence answers detailing what happened on the evening of the incident and not shedding any light on how the decision to detain (the) patron was ultimately reached.”

The complaint, which was filed September 16, was not posted to the Gaming Commission’s website, but the matter was listed as a stipulation item for this week’s agenda.

The Gaming Commission is also expected to consider five settlements in complaints brought against Nevada gaming license holders over violations of the state COVID-19 health and safety protocols and guidelines, including the Sahara in Las Vegas and the Hotel Nevada in Ely.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.