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What if I am denied a gaming card?

Tue Jul 16th, by Gaming Law |

In Nevada, gaming is a privileged industry. That means that you do not have perfect freedom to work in the gaming industry like certain other industries. In order to work in gaming, you must obtain a gaming card, which is the license to work in gaming.

This is very important to know before you move to Nevada or seek employment in certain places. And, you will find it quite random where you might be required to hold a gaming card to work. There are places where you literally serve people drinks who are sitting at gaming machines which do not require a gaming card. Conversely, there are also places where there is no gaming in the establishment, but a gaming card is required to work there. These are often nightclubs located in casinos.

If you are hired to work in a gaming establishment, as defined by Nevada law, you will be required to fill out an application for a gaming card. Keep in mind, there are other privileged industries (i.e. liquor, marijuana) that require a different card. Gaming is considered the highest level of privileged industry in Nevada, and has the most thorough application process. You will disclose ten years of criminal records and a bunch of other data. DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING OUT. It is important to disclose everything, because you can be denied a card for failing to disclose relevant facts.

If you are denied, you are entitled to an appeal to an administrative law judge. That judge will make a decision to either uphold the denial and deny your gaming card, overturn the appeal and grant your gaming card, or grant you a conditional card where you have to complete some special conditions. The decision of the administrative law judge must be approved by a full member of the Nevada Gaming Commission. 

If the administrative law judge denies your gaming card, you can still appeal in front of the entire Gaming Commission, in their monthly open session. This is worth considering, because the Gaming Commission overturns the administrative decisions on a regular basis. As a result, we include both levels of appeal in our firm’s pricing.

Here are a few types of denials:

  1. Failure to disclose. These are the hardest to appeal. The only way around a failure to disclose denial is to argue that it was an accident or based on confusion. I have successfully recovered a gaming card in this scenario, but it is easy to avoid this situation by disclosing EVERYTHING.
  2. Crimes of moral turpitude. Certain crimes, such as theft, sale of narcotics, sexual assault, murder and some others, are considered crimes of moral turpitude. Many agencies, such as immigration, and even the State Bar of Nevada, use this guideline for discipline. The Nevada Gaming Commission uses this same standard to deny people gaming cards. In this scenario, we make an argument about a person’s character and fitness. We simply make an argument that the past crime was a one-time mistake and the applicant is otherwise a moral person. To do this, we seek letters from people who know the applicant, attesting to their character. Sometimes, we will even bring a family member or friend to the hearing, who holds special status. Maybe a father who is in the gaming industry. Maybe a police officer or someone in the military. Maybe a Priest or Rabbi.
  3. A history of drug abuse. This does not necessarily mean simply drug convictions. In this scenario, it is important to argue rehabilitation. Many people have successfully fought an addiction and we tell their recovery story to the Judge. Often, people with a history of drugs are granted a conditional gaming card where they are required to submit to drug testing. After a year, that condition is often removed if the applicant passes the tests. People with multiple DUIs can also fall into this same analysis.
  4. Parole and probation. Unfortunately, the Gaming Commission has been quite clear on this topic. If someone is in “constructive custody,” they are not entitled to a gaming card. This means if you are on parole or probation, your conviction might not prohibit you from holding a gaming card, but your probation or parole would. If you are in this situation, I would recommend not applying for a gaming card until after you are off parole or probation. Keep in mind, there is a one year waiting period after a denial, so there is no reason to trigger that waiting period if you know you are going to be denied.
  5. Theft from a gaming establishment. If you are shown to have committed theft from a gaming establishment, Nevada law imposes a ten year ban from holding a gaming card. The good news is that this ban is discretionary and can be lifted by the administrative law judge, with the approval of a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission. We have successfully overcome this ten year bar, but it must be prepped carefully.

The gaming card appeal process can be complex, but it follows some simple rules of common sense. We are always trying to make our clients look like they are of good character, and rehabilitated from their past. Call us for professional representation at 702-435-3333.