Thursday, May 08, 2008

Slot Cheat To Be Nominated For Nevada´s Infamous Black Book!

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, a new candidate is being readied for nomination and induction into the Nevada gaming industry´s Black Book, which excludes entry into any of the state´s casinos under penalty of arrest for trespassing. It's been almost four years since Nevada gaming regulators added a name to the state's List of Excluded Persons, commonly referred to as the Black Book. Today, the Gaming Control Board will consider the newest nominee.

William Cushing, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for gambling-related cheating violations, will face control board scrutiny following his indictment last year for attempting to cheat slot machines at two Clark County casinos. A trial in the case has been set for November in District Court.

Gaming Control Board member Randy Sayre said Monday that Cushing's latest indictment showed regulators that steps needed to be taken to keep him out of casinos. Cushing, who lives out of state, has several other cheating-related convictions in Clark County since 1998.

"Clearly, his actions have risen to the level that we need to take steps to ensure he is not a danger to the state," Sayre said. "Even though his indictment still needs to be taken through the system, his past history clearly indicates from my perspective that we need to keep him out of the industry."

The Black Book now lists 35 people. The law was set up to prohibit people with felony convictions against the gaming industry from entering a casino. It's considered a felony if someone from the List of Excluded Persons enters a gaming establishment. Casino executives can also face felony charges if they knowingly allow a member of the Black Book to enter the property.

Sayre, who was appointed to the three-member control board in January 2007, said there are at least two or three other individuals whom he would like to add to the list. However, he doesn't believe the list should be too encumbered with names, so that it's unmanageable for the casino industry to police.

"I think there are a few others, like Mr. Cushing, who belong on this list," Sayre said.

The control board nominates people for inclusion in the Black Book to the Nevada Gaming Commission, which then decides whether the person will be added to the list. The most recent names added were Eugene Bulgarino and Dennis McAndrew in September 2004.

Some of the names in the Black Book harken back to the 1960s and 1970s, when organized crime controlled Nevada's casino industry, such as reputed mob associates Dominic Spinale, Joey Cusumano and Anthony Cino. The most well-known name on the list may be reputed mob associate Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, who ran several casinos in Las Vegas during the 1970s. His story was depicted in the 1995 movie, "Casino," which starred Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone.

The only way someone can be removed from the Black Book is by dying.

Cushing was indicted in September for using a cheating device on slot machines in the Boulder Station and Fiesta Rancho casinos. According to the indictment, Cushing inserted a device into a slot machine's bill validator in which it would register a wager of $100 when just $1 had been inserted into the machine. The credits were then cashed out through the slot machine's ticket in-ticket out system.

In June 1985, Cushing was found guilty in the U.S. District Court in Reno of transporting stolen property and defrauding the Internal Revenue Service after cheating several Strip casinos out of thousands of dollars in fraudulent slot machine jackpots. He was sentenced to between five and seven years in prison, but it is unclear how much time he spent incarcerated.

Two of Cushing's former associates, John Vaccaro and Sandra Vaccaro, who were convicted with him in 1985, are also listed in the Black Book.

"His associations with the Vaccaros add to his eligibility," Sayre said.

They may even add to Cushing´s eligibility for my Poker and Casino Cheaters Hall of Fame, which already has two infamous slot cheats inductees!