Nevada high court weighs Wynn tip-sharing policy (AP) Hannah Dreier, Associated Press · June 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm Most Las Vegas revelers assume that the chip they throw their blackjack dealer when they’re on a winning streak stays with that dealer. In fact, at the Wynn and Encore casinos in Las Vegas, that tip gets pooled and then split among a great number of employees, including supervisors. The mandatory tip-pooling policy is the subject of a fight that has waged for seven years, and may now finally be coming to a close. Attorneys for Wynn Las Vegas and a group of casino employees argued their cases before the Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday. The court is expected to issue a ruling in the coming months. The dealers argue that $5 million a year is being diverted to supervisors. They claim the sharing policy was enacted in 2006 to provide raises for supervisors without taking it out of corporate coffers. Anger over the tip-sharing policy led to unionizing efforts by dealers at Wynn, who voted in 2008 for collective bargaining representation through the Transport Workers Union of America. In 2010, the union approved a 10-year contract, which includes tip sharing. But a group of dealers then sought to dismantle the policy. Former Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek determined in 2010 the policy was legal because Wynn Resorts neither retained the tips for its own use nor gained a direct benefit. Card dealers on the Strip generally make more than their supervisors because of big tips left by gamblers. But the next year, Clark County District Judge Kenneth Cory ruled employees can’t be forced to share tips with supervisors or with employees in other kinds of jobs. “Quite simply, the Nevada Supreme Court has never allowed a mandatory tip-pooling policy that extends beyond the dealer-only pool,” he wrote. Wynn, which operates the Wynn and Encore casinos on the Strip, then appealed to the Supreme Court. Leon Greenberg, representing the dealers, argued Wednesday that people tip for specific actions, not an overall experience. “The customer is giving the tip to a dealer for a service. He’s not giving it to the company,” he said. Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, argued on Wynn’s behalf. He urged the Supreme Court to take the case out of the hands of the judiciary, emphasizing “the deference due the labor commissioner and the special experience he brings.” Dozens of card dealers picketed outside the court building —as temperatures climbed to 100 degrees— wearing red union shirts and chanting, “Tips are for dealers, casinos are stealers.” “Tips belong to tip-earners, not the employers. They can’t just take them,” local president Jeff Jaeger said.