With battles on multiple fronts, Station Casinos is fighting to maintain its image By John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports November 17, 2021 at 7:00 pm The commercials are hard to miss on television and the internet. The full-page advertisements in the Las Vegas Review-Journal leave little doubt about their theme: Station Casinos is a benevolent gaming company that’s an integral part of the Las Vegas community. The ads paint a picture of corporate caring with smiling faces of an ethnically blended workforce apparently well pleased with their employment status. In reality, Station Casinos and the behemoth Culinary Union Local 226 continue their legal wrestling as the end of another year approaches. The battle that’s been waged for the past two decades only figures to get uglier from here as the labor organization slowly gains a foothold. U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered the company to recognize the union and begin bargaining in good faith. In its statement at the time, the union called the ruling an important breakthrough. Culinary Workers Union Local 226/Workers celebrate union vote at Station Casinos’ Fiesta Henderson, 2019 In keeping with its iron-jawed position, however, the company remained unmoved, but made it clear in a statement that it “firmly and respectfully” disagreed with the result, “which overturns the clear vote of the Red Rock team members in their rejection of the Culinary Union.” In April, the National Labor Relations Board alleged that Station Casinos attempted to undermine the union’s attempt to organize service workers by failing to negotiate with the labor organization during the pandemic-related closure of all Nevada gaming properties. The company is accused of taking actions “in a selective and discriminatory manner that was calculated to dilute union support among their employees,” according to an NLRB statement. Per the complaint, the company “unlawfully failed to give the unions timely notice of their unilateral actions” and refused to bargain in good faith. Although unfair labor practice allegations are common when labor and management are at loggerheads, the trouble is piling up for Station Casinos and is coming from multiple fronts. Even those quick to write off Culinary’s protracted battle with Station have to admit that the union has shown remarkable stamina in its decades-long effort to organize the locals casino giant’s employees. At the risk of once again underestimating the recalcitrance and resolve of Station Casinos management, I think the war of attrition may be taking an unanticipated toll on the company, which now finds itself in a defensive posture on multiple fronts. At a time when the casino industry is developing and expanding sports betting options across the country, Station Casinos faces a disciplinary action from Nevada gaming regulators for accepting approximately 350 wagers on events with already-known outcomes over a three-year period at the company’s Red Rock Resort. The two-count complaint was filed Sept. 13, noting that the company self-reported what it considered a computer malfunction due to “insufficient server memory.” The Gaming Control Board asserts that the company was well aware of problems related to its Stadium Live program: “Respondents are responsible for any violation related to the Stadium Live program. Toleration of such repeated violations constitutes ground for license revocation or other disciplinary action.” Shutterstock The Control Board issued its first regulation-violation error to Red Rock on Aug. 3, 2018, following the sports book’s acceptance of 35 bets on five events that had already taken place. Which, as an aside, is an ideal way to win your sports bets. After several months passed, arguably plenty of time to correct the potentially embarrassing and costly glitch, on Jan. 9, 2019, Station’s mobile sports wagering application with servers at Red Rock accepted money and wrote 116 sports bets on events already concluded, according to the Control Board complaint. A Station employee confirmed that the computer errors “were 100 percent avoidable.” Suffice to say there’s never a good time for a licensed casino company to be hit with a Control Board complaint. But in the middle of a sports betting boom and an increasingly ugly labor dispute, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Although no one can reasonably expect Station Casinos to lose its license, the Control Board complaint is made to order for use by the company’s critics – including a certain labor organization I’m thinking of. I suspect the company’s warm and friendly advertisements will be with us a while longer.