Small fine for a small mistake

Casinos keep track of every little thing. Everything. Casinos are all about numbers, whether it comes to money or the games themselves, so everything is about counting. Nothing goes unnoticed, uncounted, uncatalogued. That’s why the failure to spot one single playing card at a casino in Deadwood, South Dakota resulted in fines and a suspending gaming license.

On Wednesday, the South Dakota Commission on Gaming fined the Deadwood Mountain Grand casino $1,260 and the casino itself is issuing $5,290 in refunds to customers because a blackjack game ran for 12 hours on December 18 without a King of Diamonds.

A bit of a fluke mishap

In a letter to Susan Christian, the commission’s executive secretary, Susan Kightlinger, the casino’s manager, wrote that a blackjack dealer let a customer cut the deck. It sounds like this is a normal thing for a dealer to do, but the problem was that the dealer inadvertently fumbled the deck and cards spilled all over the place. The dealer gathered the cards back up, reshuffled them, and continued the game.

At about 3:00am December 19, the table closed and the cards were counted. That’s when employees discovered that the King of Diamonds was missing. They checked the security footage and saw that at 3:15pm, the card lodged in a stool and nobody noticed. There it sat for 12 hours.

Kightlinger said that the players at that table will be identified and refunded their losses.

Pit boss James Jenkins also wrote a letter to explain what happened. He said a “small amount” of cards fell off the table, retrieved by a restaurant employee who happened to be walking by and given to the dealer before Jenkins arrived at the table.

Casino will conduct timelier counts in the future

“I double checked the floor and surrounding area to make sure I didn’t miss any of the cards and went on with the game,” Jenkins explained. “At the time I didn’t think of taking the shoe off the table and verifying all six decks to make sure all the cards were there and just giving him six different decks to verify and move on with the game.”

Jenkins continued, saying it was an honest mistake, that the card wasn’t stolen or tossed off the table on purpose, but it unfortunately ended up between the seat and backrest of a chair where nobody could see it.

“I feel really bad for what happened and I will make sure it never happens again,” he apologized.

Because the buck ultimate stops with Jenkins as the man in charge of the dealers, he was fined $50 and has had his gaming licenses suspended for seven days.

The commissioners voted unanimously on the punishments. The $1,260 fine is the amount of money lost by players who could not be identified.

Image credit: Amy Meredith via Flickr

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