ztar General Manager Jim Brown said all the problems have been fixed. "In 2006 there were technical violations made by our staff in regards to regulations and internal control procedures - none of which were malicious or had an effect on our customers," Brown said.
The commission approved the fine yesterday as part of a settlement with Aztar. Also approved by the commission were disciplinary settlements with Caesars Indiana in Harrison County, a us$ 3,000 fine for violating the casino’s internal audit controls. According to the settlement agreement, casino employees failed to correctly document and edit changes on audit paperwork.
Besides, Belterra Casino in Switzerland County was fined with us$ 4,500 for allowing a woman under 21 years old to enter the casino. She was discovered at a blackjack table. The commission also approved fines against Horseshoe Hammond and Majestic Star casinos, both in Lake County.
The fine against Aztar was by far the highest. The settlement agreement outlined 10 counts against the casino. Yelton said the most serious was the issue regarding admissions counts. The fine for that charge alone was us$ 60,000. According to the agreement, casino security officials last year discovered discrepancies between the boat’s primary and second turnstiles as well as the manual clicker counter used by the casino.
Gaming Commission officials became involved in May, noting the problem in an audit. The commission found at that time that the casino was using the manual clickers but wasn’t recording the totals from those counters on the form used to calculate admissions taxes. At the end of the day, the settlement said, the casino was throwing away the paper that had the written clicker totals on it.
Since then, commission officers have documented additional discrepancies between the turnstiles and clickers.
The casino worked on the problem for months but couldn’t seem to find a system that produced accurate numbers, Yelton said. During that period, he said, the casino gave regulators the impression that the problem had been solved. Yelton said the casino had to make up a small amount of admissions tax to the state.
Brown said there was no intent to deceive the commission or underpay its admissions taxes. Instead, he described the situation as a complicated technical issue compounded by the fact that the companies licensed to provide casino turnstiles guarantee their accuracy only within 2 percent, a number that isn’t good enough for the Gaming Commission.
Other Gaming Commission charges included a case of unsecured chips, unlocked doors in areas where money is counted, and casino staff calling out "no more bets" during roulette games at an inappropriate time, allowing late wagers. Also, there were three occasions when minors were found in the casino.
Brown said the casino increased training to address many of the other issues cited by the commission. "We’ve had one of the best regulatory records in the state of Indiana," he said. "We’ve worked hand in hand with the commission to ensure compliance in the future."