Casino giants Wynn Resorts Inc. have agreed to pay $5.6million to settle two class action lawsuits brought by a gaming union on behalf of roughly 1000 dealers who were forced to share tips with non-dealer staff, as much as $50million believed to have been lost by dealers through the illegal practice.
The proposed settlement may bring to an end a decade and a half of controversy surrounding former CEO Steve Wynn’s illegal decision that casino dealers should share tips with pit bosses and other supervisors.
As much as $50million in dealer tips are reported to have been lost since Wynn replaced supervisory roles with generic “casino service team leads” titles.
Under this definition, Wynn claimed the new roles were eligible for a share of pool tips as they have no direct influence over certain aspects of dealer work, such as work rotas and pay. Wynn Resorts Inc. however are the only strip casino owners in Vegas to use such role terminology and differences.
However, the dealers’ union, the UAW Local 3555 Gaming Union argued in two lawsuits from 2013 and 2018, that this merely masked the fact that they were indeed supervisors.
Dealers were forced to share 12% of their pooled tips with the supervisors, one dealer claiming in 2018 that this had cost her as much as $100,000 over the 15 years the policy was implemented.
This week’s settlement was signed by U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon, his judgment stating: “The court finds the proposed settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution of a bona fide dispute arising under the Fair Labor Standards
Act for those collective action members, all of whom are current or former employees of (the) defendant, that elect to participate in such settlement.”
Wynn Resorts spokesman, Michael Weaver, told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “We are pleased that all of the parties worked cooperatively to reach a resolution and bring this matter to an amiable conclusion.”
The matter may not be at an end, however, as legal costs of more than $1.4million would be taken from the settlement, the estimated 1,000 current and former dealers only receiving an average payout of $4,170.
As Judge Gordon noted, the payments would be made to those who “elect to participate in such settlement,” those unhappy with the offered deal able to decline and file individual or other collective actions of their own.
Representatives of UAW Local 3555, which represents Wynn dealers, have yet to respond to inquiries about the settlement.