CASINO

Boyd Gaming in the spotlight over racial discrimination

TAGs: ameristar casino, Boyd Gaming

A casino executive who previously worked for Boyd Gaming’s Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri, is suing the casino operator. Kim Carpenter, who worked as an event booker for the venue, alleges that she had been ordered by the top brass to not book shows or concerts that would attract mostly African American attendees. She is suing Boyd on grounds of sexual and racial discrimination.

Boyd Gaming in the spotlight over racial discriminationThe lawsuit was initially filed in St. Charles County Circuit Court last December before being moved to a federal court last week. Carpenter’s lawyers alleged that she had complained to management about being ordered to not book acts that catered “primarily to black people,” for which she was fired.

The lawsuit further alleged that Carpenter’s termination was based on false pretenses, with Ameristar executives telling her that she was not a “good cultural fit.” She lodged her complaint against management on April 5, 2018, and was fired the next day. However, she was let go less than a month after having received a “substantial bonus” and positive performance reviews.

Boyd VP of Corporate Communication David Strow issued a statement denying the allegations. He asserted, “We strongly dispute these allegations. However, given that this matter is the subject of pending litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Also named in the lawsuit are Penn National Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment. Boyd acquired the property from Pinnacle last year. Penn acquired Pinnacle last August.

There have been several discrimination cases brought against casinos recently. Roma Spady, an African American Muslim employee at the Rivers Casino & Resort in New York, sued after she was allegedly fired for not removing her hijab while on the clock. Probably the most notorious case involves Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts over Steve Wynn’s sexual misconduct allegations.

St. Charles is located west of St. Louis. It is home to around 70,000 people, of which about 5.9% are African Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

If Carpenter’s allegations are found to be true, it will be a serious blow to the Ameristar and Boyd. The company could expect, at the least, major boycotts of all of its facilities and possible revocation of licenses. On the other hand, if the allegations are proven to be false, it would serious diminish the legitimate claims made in future discrimination cases across the country.

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