'Superstitious Dice' at a Vegas Casino
LAS VEGAS (CN) - A longtime manager claims in court that a Las Vegas casino fired him for refusing to cover up orders to switch in "superstitious dice" to games "when the house was losing money, in order to change the luck back in favor of the house."
Milan Milicevic sued Four Queens LLC and its corporate parent TLC Casino Enterprises, in Clark County Court.
Milicevic says in the complaint that he worked at Four Queens Hotel & Casino for more than 37 years. He says TLC Casino Enterprises bought the casino in 2003. He was a shift manager when he was fired this year.
Milicevic claims his boss, director of casino operations Glen Casale, started the tradition of switching in a pair of dice they called "superstitious dice" when the house was losing.
Casale is not named as a defendant.
"Casale was irrational about the games," the complaint states. "A manifestation of this irrational attitude was his insistence that his subordinates use the 'superstitious dice' on live games. This is reminiscent of Hollywood movies like 'The Cooler.' It is suspected that the 'superstitious dice' were obtained as the Gambler's General Store on Main Street in downtown Las Vegas. They were not marked with the Four Queens logo as the official dice supplied for craps were marked. Casale instructed that these dice be switched into live games when the house was losing money in order to change the luck back in favor of the house. So far as plaintiff knows there was nothing physically wrong with the 'superstitious dice.' They were not 'loaded dice' as far as plaintiff is aware. It was simply Casale's irrational attitude and belief that the use of these dice would change the luck and reverse the house's losses that drove his insistence that these unofficial dice be used in live games at the Four Queens and also at Binions, which is also owned by defendant TLC."
Milicevic claims that he was not the first person to alert the Nevada Gaming Control Board about the "superstitious dice," which reports brought gaming agents to the casino.
"Plaintiff believes that Gaming Control Board agents were initially informed of the use of 'superstitious dice' by someone inside the company," the complaint states. "On or about August 12, 2012, two weeks prior to the agents coming onto the property the plaintiff had contacted surveillance when the dice were put into play. Bill in surveillance asked the plaintiff where the dice came from because he did not have a memo available to explain the dice. The plaintiff told Bill that Glenn Casale has provided the dice and instructed shift managers, including the plaintiff, to use the dice. Bill told the plaintiff that the dice looked like they came from the Gambler's General Store down the street and that he intended to investigate this. Plaintiff promptly told Glenn Casale of the conversation with Bill in surveillance. Casale told the plaintiff to continue to use the dice.
"On August 26, 2012, the plaintiff met with Gaming Control Board agents Joey Hill and Dean DeFoe. The plaintiff told them the truth that the dice were used on live games and that he and others had been instructed to use them on live games by director of casino operations Glenn Casale. He informed the agents that another shift manager, Mark McDuffy, had checked the dice and said they were physically okay. The plaintiff went over the dice procedure with the agents. The agents asked the plaintiff if he was comfortable using the dice that were kept in the office ('the superstitious dice') and the plaintiff replied that he believed in the chain of command and that he followed the orders he received from the chain of command." (Parentheses in complaint.)
In March this year, during the Gaming Control Board's investigation, Milicevic says, he, Casale and McDuffy were called into a meeting with TLC's CFO Brian Arlin, human resources director Carron Albert, and security director David Barker, none of whom are named as defendants.
"Brian Arlin told the plaintiff that Gaming Control Board agents were following up on the issue with the dice," the complaint states. "Plaintiff relayed the questions that Gaming Control Board agents had asked him and the answers that plaintiff had provided. Plaintiff said that he answered all questions truthfully as he is required to do. During the meeting the general manager Dennis Hershey came into the room and heard part of what plaintiff had to say."
Milicevic claims that "shortly after" this meeting, he was called to a second meeting, "with the owner Terry Caudill, CFO Brian Arlin, and GM Dennis Hershey. Mr. Caudill stated that the problem with the dice could cost him his gaming license and asked the plaintiff to 'protect' him better in the future."
Milicevic claims that on March 29 he was told her would be suspended for four days, from April 2 through 5, for violating the Gaming Control Board's "Dice Standards."
"This suspension was the height of hypocrisy," he says in the complaint. "The plaintiff was suspended for doing exactly what he had been told to do by his superior."
He claims that Casale also was suspended, for two weeks.
Milicevic was fired on May 30.
The complaint states: "The 'Personnel Action Form' stated under reason for separation, 'At Will Separation. Services no longer needed.' The plaintiff was told that he could not ask any questions. He was escorted out by security."
Milicevic seeks punitive damages for wrongful firing, whistleblower violations and retaliation.
Milicevic is represented by James P. Kemp with Kemp & Kemp.