The Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) unanimously recommended approval of a license for casino games supplier Galaxy Gaming on Thursday, just two months after it was on the verge rejecting Galaxy’s bid over serious concerns about then-Chairman and CEO Robert Saucier, and his “train wreck” of an application.
In July, the Las Vegas-based manufacturer of specialty table games and patented side bets withdrew their application for a new license rather than risk having it rejected. And the board’s approval shows satisfaction with the changes the company made since then.
A 2015 law allowed the company to keep its licensed games on the floors of Nevada casinos while the changes were taking place, but forbid them from introducing new games. But now they can resume business as usual.
Galaxy Gaming has operated in Nevada for 17 years, supplying casinos with games such as Three Card Poker, High Card Flush, and WPT Heads-Up Texas Hold’em. Each new game they introduce requires Galaxy to go before the board for approval.
At issue in July was a new license application from Saucier that board member Terry Johnson called a “train wreck,” but the board was willing to give Galaxy a second chance to submit the application, but not before grilling Galaxy attorneys about their then-CEO’s questionable past.
Nevada gaming authorities have had concerns about Saucier for years, particularly as a past came to light that showed him running into problems getting licensed in Washington, Oregon, and California.
In the 1990s, Saucier was president of the tribal Mars Hotel and Casino in Spokane, Washington, which filed bankruptcy in 1997 and burned down two years later.
No one could have accused this of being an insurance job because the casino didn’t have any insurance. Saucier has reportedly been mired in lawsuits with Mars’ creditors ever since.
Saucier applied for a gaming license in Oregon, too, but did not get approved after an investigation by Oregon State Police revealed associations that brought his suitability into question.
In 2013, an administrative law judge recommended Saucier be rejected for gaming licensure in California, claiming he was guilty of withholding or misleading state officials about where he went to school, his criminal record, business dealings, and outstanding lawsuits.
“Saucier was evasive and, in some instances, intentionally dishonest and misleading in his response to questions,” Judge Catherine Frink wrote. “In a highly regulated industry such as gaming, the failure to be forthcoming with relevant information was inexcusable.”
Saucier has also been accused of signing contracts with tribes in California without receiving proper permission from the state, and has been flagged by regulators for his history of hiring accountants with criminal records.
Since July, Galaxy has had Saucier step down as CEO, and replaced him as board chairman with former GCB chairman and state senator Mark Lipparelli.
Saucier will remain a director and retain his shares in the company, but not a controlling interest. Directors are subject to a lower degree of regulatory scrutiny than senior executives.
The board’s recommendation to approve Galaxy’s application without Saucier at the helm will be sent to the Nevada Gaming commission for final approval on Sept. 21.