Caesars Entertainment has been one of several gaming companies that is attempting to rebuild the Atlantic City gaming industry. The industry has been struggling since the economic recession, and with each step forward New Jersey takes towards recovery, the gaming industry seems to take two steps back.
This week, Caesars and the AC casino industry was dealt another blow when New Jersey gaming regulators laid a $225,000 fine on Caesars for the company’s role in allowing a gambling addict to go on one of the largest and longest betting sprees of all-time.
Terrance Watanabe went on a gambling spree in Las Vegas in which he lost over $100 million. Along the way, Watanabe spent time at Caesars in Vegas, drinking free alcohol and making advances to female employees and patrons. All the while, Caesars allowed the behavior and the gambling, despite Watanabe’s addictive past.
The company and the gambler had a legal battle following the gambling spree. Watanabe sued Caesars, claiming that they lured him to the casino with free drinks. He claimed that he was highly inebriated throughout his betting rampage, and that the casinos should be held responsible for allowing him to gamble in that state.
Watanabe lost the lawsuit, and Caesars appeared to be done with the scandal. New Jersey regulators, however, decided to fine Caesars, even though the alleged gambling took place on the other side of the US, in Las Vegas.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement asserted that although Caesars was cleared of wrongdoing, that by not taking action, the situation reflects poorly on the New Jersey gaming industry. That explanation was given for the reason behind the fine.
New Jersey is trying to clean up their AC casino industry image while rebuilding what was once the gaming capital of the East Coast. In recent months, New Jersey lawmakers have passed legislation permitting AC casinos to offer online gambling. Legislators also have passed a bill allowing sports books in Atlantic City casinos, although federal hurdles must be cleared before sports betting is permitted.