Shake-up at Venetian over sweepstakes

June 11, 2002 10:33 AM


Questions over a sweepstakes prize have led to the ouster of five employees at the Venetian and an investigation by state regulators, GamingToday has learned.

An executive vice president and four hotel-casino staffers reportedly "resigned" in the past two weeks. Their departure came in the wake of a high-roller sweepstakes promotion that featured the giveaway of a new Mercedes.

"It was fixed for one of the (players) to win,’’ asserted an insider who requested anonymity.

Word quickly spread to the Gaming Control Board, which has launched an investigation into the matter. Board member Bobby Siller confirmed that a probe was under way.

"The Venetian self-reported and five people in the marketing department were let go,’’ Siller said. "The hotel did the right thing in reporting potential violations and we’re investigating.’’

Siller, a former top FBI agent, said regulators’ investigation will extend to other properties as well. "We’ll be looking at these promotional drawings elsewhere to make sure they’re run correctly,’’ he stated.

One source said at least two of the unidentified workers were directors from the marketing department. The source described their departures as "forced resignations" or "terminations."

Though not naming names, the source said the ex-execs were "well-liked.’’

Other sources said 13 employees, including eight casino executives, were involved in the alleged sweepstakes snafu.

Calls to the Venetian were not returned by press time.

Harrah’s axes dept.

In a cost-cutting move, Harrah’s Entertainment has outsourced its benefits department and is terminating 14 administrative positions.

"Four are gone and 10 will leave between October and January,’’ spokesman Gary Thompson confirmed Monday. The benefits division is located in Harrah’s Memphis office, which houses about one-third of Harrah’s corporate staff.

Thompson said the move streamlines administrative operations while keeping benefits intact for the company’s 41,000 employees. He added that Harrah’s is attempting to find positions for the displaced staffers.