Tilman Fertitta, Indian giver; Meet Charles S. Weinberg

When he took over the Golden Nugget and its Laughlin sibling, Landry’s Restaurants CEO Tilman Fertitta quickly developed a reputation among employees as a skinflint and micromanager. Whether or not the micromanagement has gone by the boards as Fertitta’s Nugget-branded empire expands, the alleged pettiness seems intact. Fertitta bought packs of cards from Kansas City-based Gemaco on the promise that they were pre-shuffled. Fertitta’s people assumed Gemaco’s vow was as good as gold … and we all know what happens when we assume, don’t we?

Sure enough, Golden Nugget Atlantic City pit bosses had the (unshuffled) card decks loaded into the shoe in ‘as received’ sequence. Consequently, mini-baccarat players were dealt a $1.5 million winning streak. Now Tilman, this is why your casinos have automatic shufflers. Going forward, you might want to think about actually using them for something other than decoration. As is wont to occur when players are winning, pit bosses leapt to the conclusion that “a sophisticated swindling and cheating scheme” was afoot.

Nor is this cheapskate blunder confined to the Nugget D’Or … on-its-uppers Trump Entertainment Resorts got clocked late last year as a consequence of making the same bonehead mistake as Fertitta’s execs. Consequently, Trump Taj Mahal is out $91,000 in fines, nine sacked employees and the cost of a new, $2.2 million surveillance setup. However, Tilman isn’t famous for accepting blame. Ergo, he’s welshing on nearly $978,000 in winnings and is prepared to spend God knows what in court to hang onto the dough. He’s also suing Gemaco, with whom he at least has a legitimate beef.

Mind you, Atlantic City casinos are mandated to require equitable odds, which is going to be Tilman’s primary line of defense against the 14 plaintiffs he’s stiffing. However, it would be an entirely reasonable conclusion that aforesaid New Jersey law presumes at least a pretense of due diligence on the casino’s part, not just making it up on the fly. The court system should kick Tilman’s patootie all the way to Camden. His security force also stands accused of having taken a page from one of the worst Vegas traditions, having allegedly put a beat-down on several of the winning players.

Loath as I am to praise anything associated with the bacterium known as Donald Trump, TER CEO Robert Griffin seems to have handled the Taj’s screwup with a measure of grace while Fertitta is just plain being a dickwad. The fault for the debacle is ultimately his and no amount of scapegoating winning players will change that fact.

If you’re not on Facebook then you’re missing the chance to “friend” one of the most fascinating FB personae, nay, the most fascinating … Mr. Charles S. Weinberg. True, Charles bears a suspicious resemblance to our favorite casino owner, Steve Wynn, but I’m sure it’s just a big coinky-dink and that Chuck’s close confederation with notorious Internet wags Hunter Hillegas, Jeff Leatherock and Michael Chilson is strictly above-board. If you are on Facebook, please befriend Charles S., as he’s only got a dozen online pals so far. I recommended a whole bunch of folks to him recently, particularly Mame Dennis. The latter’s philosophy that life is a banquet and most poor S.O.B.s are starving would seem right in line with Charles Weinberg’s way of thinking.

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