Gaming regulators are used to tweaking rules to keep up with changes in the industry. On Thursday the Nevada Gaming Commission took a step toward keeping up with societal change.
Under an amendment unanimously approved by the five-member commission, casinos will be subject to the same disciplinary standards for letting people gamble while impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
The new rules may result in additional workforce training for floor staff to be aware of potentially impaired patrons.
The amendment was one of four considered for final adoption by the commission Thursday.
The impairment amendment expands the existing regulation that said “permitting persons who are visibly intoxicated” shouldn’t be allowed to gamble or be served complimentary intoxicating beverages.
The proposal was spurred in part by the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana but addresses impairment by both legal and illegal drugs.
No one raised any concerns with the proposed changes in a public hearing before the state Gaming Control Board recommended the regulatory update April 4.
“We always want to protect a patron, and we always thought about intoxication being from alcohol,” Commission Chairman Tony Alamo said after the meeting. “Now people can become incapacitated from drugs and alcohol. So you see we have to change even subtle things like that because of changes in society.”
Disciplinary actions involving intoxicated casino patrons are rare, but the commission imposed a $25,000 fine on a licensee two years ago in a case involving the Rampart Casino at the Resort at Summerlin.
In that case, another casino patron complained to the Control Board about an intoxicated person who was allowed to play.
The incident resulted in casino and resort staff undertaking training on responsible gaming awareness and alcohol management.
Separate amendments to Regulation 22 governing the operation of race books and sports pools broaden the definition of “payouts” to include cash, chips or credit toward a new bet and allow passports to be used as a form of identification to pay winners.
An addition on the payment of winning wagers allows a book to accept a photocopy of a driver’s license or passport in lieu of the actual documents when a winning betting ticket is sent by mail. Books will be required to maintain the documentation for five years.
A change to another section expands a book’s responsibility to report suspicious betting activity by requiring operators to report “suspicious transactions,” not just wagers. The new wording states that books should note bets placed by coaches and athletes involved in all sports competitions and not just collegiate events.