Sports betting kiosks are officially an endangered species in Nevada following Thursday’s unanimous passage of SB 416 by the state Assembly. The legislation, which passed the state Senate last week and now requires only Gov. Brian Sandoval’s signature to become law, would ban kiosks from operating in pubs and clubs that hold restricted gambling licenses. Legislators voted down an amendment that would have allowed a two-year grace period in which the establishments could wind down their kiosk activities, meaning the machines have to be out of commission by July 1.
The kiosk ban was a pet project of the Nevada Resort Association (the other NRA), which represents the state’s non-restricted gambling license holders, aka the major casinos. The casinos have accused the kiosks of siphoning away business from their own sportsbooks, even though the machines accounted for less than one percent of the state’s sports betting revenue last year. William Hill US, which operates kiosks in 82 locations across the state, will take the biggest hit from Thursday’s vote, although Cantor Gaming stands to suffer as well.
Don’t count on Hills and Cantor execs getting together to drown their sorrows anytime soon, however. The lawsuit Cantor filed against former exec Joseph Asher in August 2011 has been enlarged to include William Hill US, whom Asher joined as CEO following Hills’ May 2011 acquisition of Brandywine Bookmaking, the company Asher formed after his acrimonious departure from Cantor in 2007. Cantor’s original suit against Asher accused him of breaching “stringent non-compete obligations” through the “improper use of proprietary ideas and corporate opportunities” that Cantor allegedly provided.
In court papers viewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cantor now accuses Hills of having “participated in, and plans to benefit from, Asher’s usurpation of business ideas and opportunities that belong to [Cantor].” Cantor maintains that Hills “acted in concert with Asher and Brandywine for this unlawful objective.” Asher filed a countersuit to Cantor’s original case against him, claiming that he’d been given verbal release from his contract obligations, but Cantor says Asher well knew that type of release would only be issued in written form. Asher has also accused Cantor boss Lee Amaitis – who pleaded guilty to drug possession a couple decades ago after a plea bargain on charges of dealing cocaine to Wall Street execs – of having a history of being “intolerable, hostile and abusive towards subordinates.”