CASINO

Former California regulator forfeits gaming license, pays $75k to resolve probe

TAGs: bob lytle, California

casino-m8trix-lytle-card-room-license-californiaThe former head of a California gaming regulatory body has agreed to surrender his card room licenses and pay a hefty fine to resolve allegations that he abused his connections to benefit a consulting client.

Over the weekend, California gaming scribe Dave Palermo reported that Robert Lytle (pictured) had reached a deal with state prosecutors on May 2 to surrender his gaming license and pay a fine of $75k or 15% of the proceeds from selling his stake in two Sacramento card rooms, whichever amount is higher.

In December 2014, California attorney general Kamala Harris accused Lyle of a variety of shenanigans, including improperly obtaining information regarding a probe into alleged profit skimming at San Jose card room Casino M8trix.

Lyltle, who in 2007 retired as head of an enforcement body that was subsequently absorbed into the Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC), took a job as compliance officer with M8trix parent company Garden City Casino just one day following his resignation.

According to Harris, before Lytle stepped down, he ordered agents to pull back on investigating Garden City over numerous violations reported by state regulators and local police.

Years later, Lytle was accused of obtaining confidential info on the M8trix skimming probe from BGC agent James Parker. Harris claimed that Lytle passed this info on to his M8trix pals, an act that compromised the BGC’s investigation.

According to a transcript of the May 2 hearing, Deputy AG Bill Tomgren told the judge that Lytle would provide “limited admissions’ to Harris’ allegations, including that Lytle had “solicited and received confidential information from bureau personnel” and failed to disclose violations of state gaming law.

The brouhaha had long tentacles, ultimately forcing the resignation of Parker’s paramour, California Gambling Control Commission executive director Tina Littleton. Commission chairman Richard Lopes, who was Lytle’s boss during his regulatory career, stepped down two weeks later.

Last June, two of Garden City’s three owners agreed to pay a $1.5m fine for having an illegal financial relationship with a gaming services company. The third owner, Eric Swallow, was forced to put his 50% stake in Casino M8trix up for sale, although he has since vowed to fight the powers that be.

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