Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

August 23, 2006

Wynn Las Vegas Changes Tip Strategies

Posted by Hunter

Starting September 1st, dealers at Wynn Las Vegas will be sharing their tips with pit bosses. This is a dramatic shift for a Strip resort to make - typically pit bosses are salaried and make far less than dealers, a bit of an oddity in the business world where supervisors usually make more than subordinates.

Apparently the dealers are less than pleased and I'm not surprised. Still, I think that this has a good shot at become the new Strip standard. The disparity was growing and a lot of dealers turned down promotions for this reason. This evens it out a bit. I'm sure they'll lose some dealers over this but I doubt any customers will notice.

Thanks to KLAS for the story:

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Read archived comments (42 so far)
August 23, 2006 8:41 AM Posted by detroit1051

Here are links to two stories in the RJ. Dealers aren't happy, but since they will still do very well at Wynn, I doubt if they'd leave. Will Wynn be the catalyst for other casinos to do the same?

August 23, 2006 9:33 AM Posted by detroit1051

Jeff Simpson, LV Sun, weighs in:

August 23, 2006 12:04 PM Posted by Hunter

This is a pretty big deal.

Some dealers are understandably griping a bit but I think after the shock wears off, they will be ok.

August 24, 2006 10:01 AM Posted by mike_ch

Whether this is good or bad seems to depend on who you know, it seems. I am a slots jockey, so I know no dealers or pit bosses. However, from my limited view as a customer, it seems that dealers are doing more actual work than the pit bosses do. If they're being paid higher when tips are included, then isn't that appropriate? Or are pit bosses actually doing more work than I can realize?

I can't see this working so well at other properties because Circus Circus doesn't have the clientele that Wynn does, so their customers won't tip as much. I doubt the differential is as massive as Wynn's at the smaller properties.

October 30, 2006 3:14 PM Posted by detroit1051

If it weren't Wynn, and the toke issue hadn't become so flammable, this would be no big deal. Most companies require employees to sign similar agreements.

>>Should a dishwasher, maid or landscaper at Wynn Las Vegas gain access to what the megaresort deems "confidential information," they have to carry that secret with them to the grave -- or risk being sued by Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn.

October 30, 2006 6:25 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

detroit1051: Damn, you actually beat me to the punch by posting this piece regarding Wynn's confidentiality and "lifetime" non-compete agreement policy which was published in the current issue of the Business PRESS whereby [Wynn] forces ALL of the employees of Wynn Resorts, Inc. to sign this ridiculous contract, including but not limited to the housekeeping staff, dishwashers, landscape personnel, etc. (most of whom can't even speak the English lanuage to begin with). Firstly, I contacted one of the premier labor relations attorneys in the entire country regarding this whom I have known for many years and who actually is quite familiar with Wynn's "bogus" blanket confidentiality agreement (which is required for EACH and EVERY employee regardless of position) and he advised me that, not only was this so-called 'agreement' without a doubt totally not legally enforceable, but if it were actually challenged and otherwise tested in a court of law, it would never be upheld due to the fact that confidentially agreements must always conatin a 'reasonable' sunset clause. Typically, this type of confidentiality agreement rarely lasts longer than five (5) years, as any period longer than that is unanimously considered by many courts to be restricting/impeding one's abiliity to earn a living in their chosen profession. In addition, the degree of restrictions that Wynn is trying to cause these "employees' to agree to honor(minus the lifetime component which is just plain stupid) usually applies to only top level corporate and mddle management positions who have signed long-term contracts with the operator. I guess that all of those room maids and common laborers must know a whole lot of Wynn's so-called "trade secrets", or maybe these low level employees might actually have specific knowledge of proprietary "intellectual property" that they must keep secret for life - do ya think? Fortunately, the current class-action suit which has recently been filed on behalf of the majority of WLV dealers (anonymously to prevent reprisals from management) will hopefully put an end to this sort questionably legal employment agreements between this reckless operator and the workers at WLV for good! The 'lifetime trade secret contract' will DEFINITELY be found to be completely unenforceable when eventually challenged at trial for an absolutely certainty. It also potentially violates several federal labor laws as well! Coincidently, Arte Nathan recently just submitted his resignation (or sorry, I meant to say, his intention to now "retire", after he served as just another of Steve's loyal "yes man" and Chief of Human Resources for something like 30 years). Coincidence? I think not after the dealer tipping fiasco that has brought the level of morale in the workplace at WLV to the lowest level of any high-end property on the Strip. There is definately a domino effect in the degradation of employee moral going on over there. I rest my case, This is only further evidence that Steve presents himself to be nothing but an out-of-touch, paranoid sociopathic operator when forcing his 8-9,000 employees to sign what is tantamount to a totally questionable legal employee agreement. Good luck Steve in "suing" (which you are quite good at doing) your former maids, dishwashers, and all of those Mexican landscapers, as well as the rest of your low-level service personnel for [violating] your cherished "trade secrets". Quite honestly, not a single one of your competitors have any desire to steal your "trade secrets" since they amount to nothing but mere B.S. to begin with. What in the hell do you [Steve] think you are you really attempting to try and protect here?

October 30, 2006 8:56 PM Posted by Hunter

From what I know about confidentiality agreements, this one is not grounded in reality and probably is in no way enforceable - it's not realistic and out of whack with common sense.

October 31, 2006 3:58 PM Posted by Devon

Leonard, you go on bashing wynn's confidentiality agreement while you fail to mention that MGM Mirage has a nearly identical contract with their employees. I'm just a little curious as to how you can be so against wynn in doing this while your buddy kirk has the same policy with his employees.

October 31, 2006 4:10 PM Posted by Hunter

Well, the Mirage Resorts agreement was done up by Wynn and his former lieutenants so it's basically the same concept, right?

I don't think it matters to be for or against this type of contract because I personally don't think it is enforceable as it is written from what I know about these things. It's probably more to scare someone than anything else.

October 31, 2006 4:32 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

It looks like Wynn Resorts is now in for a major battle with the majority of their [own] dealers. A class-action suit has recently been filed on behalf of WLV dealers charging the Wynn Las Vegas Resort with breach of employment contracts unilaterally, illegally and without cause by witholding the dealer's tip money for distribution to other casino employees that are not casino dealers, but rather, officially classified as 'management' and therefore not entitled to the shared money which, according to Wynn Resorts, Inc., will from now on be distributed under the sole control and authority of WLV management, absent any audit or any permitted subsequent review on behalf of the WLV dealer's or their appointed representatives. This class-action lawsuit filing has the full support of the International Union of Gaming Employees:

October 31, 2006 4:37 PM Posted by Hunter

This could end up being a huge problem...

I mean, when your employees are suing you, how can they all be out there working 110% for you at the same time?

Now, there are obviously dealers from other properties that wouldn't mind moving up to Wynn Las Vegas even with this new arrangement so if they fired everyone, they could get people to fill the positions but I mean, they supposedly went for the best of the best when it came to recruiting dealers from Bellagio, The Mirage, The Venetian, Caesars and elsewhere...

What happens if they lose these experienced employees?

This isn't blowing over like management probably hoped it would.

October 31, 2006 4:40 PM Posted by Hunter

I should also add that for those that are not aware, not having a dealer representative do the tip count and verification is highly non-standard.

The dealers usually elect someone (or a group that rotates) to go in during the count and deal with the tips, the idea being that this prevents them from being stiffed by the hotel...

Now, there are of course cameras everywhere and Pascal stated that while the dealer reps no longer can be a part of this audit procedure, the tapes and details of the transactions would be made available to them.

They are blazing a new trail here and it's not totally clear which way the wind will be blowing in the future.

October 31, 2006 6:06 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Devon: To try and accurately answer your question, MGM/MIRAGE does NOT have an employement agreement that even begins to approach the restrictions contained in the STANDARD, unreasonable + unenforceable, as well as questionably legal Wynn employment contract. First of all, the restricted confidentiality agreemnet and non-compete clause that MGM/MIRAGE requires extends to ONLY corporate + middle management personnel, and contains a normallly accepted/reasonable sunset clause that typically extends to five (5) years after termination of employement. The non-compete component might be longer for those in the absolute upper level executive positions since they will still continue to hold substantial stock. The idea of a "lifetime" confidentially contract that Wynn Resorts forces all of their employees to sign, will be proven to be unforceable when legally challenged or otherwise tested at trial. If Steve would just pull his fat head out of his ass he might actually be able to SEE for the first time in his life! WYNN is in for some major, big-time problems with this new policy. The fact that employee morale has suffered across the board should be a first indicator, don't ya think? You need to realize that the majority of the WLV dealers previously left behind lucratave positions at Caesars, Bellagio, etc. in expectation of much highr income potential. My understanding is that, with this new tip policy over there, most dealers will experience a 15-20% reduction in earnings since they have already lost their seniority at the other properties and can only return to their old jobs as entrance level employees. Steve Wynn is without a doubt, nothing but a con-man to asy the least. After 18 months, he is holding his dealers at WLV essentially hostage. Not a very smart move when cosidering that casino dealers are at the very frontline of the gaming guest's experience.

November 1, 2006 1:50 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Check out this piece originally published in the Business PRESS (9-06) on Wynn's gradual destruction of employee morale at WLV in connection with his new policy regarding dealer tokes and, being the hypocrite that he arguably is, this has already resulted in a serious + noticeable degradation of quality guest services at all levels within the resort, as well as causing public negative outcry over this greedy bastard's latest attempt to continue to be a total 'control freak' of this public company at the expense of WLV guests as well as WYNN stockholders. This one will really come back to haunt him for an absolute certainty - you would think this fat-headed f***k would have already learned his lesson when he lost Mirage Resorts to Kerkorian. Some people never seem to learn. Way to go Steve!

November 8, 2006 11:55 AM Posted by detroit1051

It would be nice to get the straight story on Wynn's tip issue. Are dealers now accepting it?
So far, since the floor men at Wynn have been in on tokes, it appears that they average about $65 to $150 more a day in pay (add that to their already $250 a day)) and it seems to cost the dealers about $25 a day in tokes. Not many complaints yet, it seems to be working out."

November 8, 2006 12:47 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

A class-action lawsuit is now pending against the WLV management specifically in connection with the recent changes to the dealer tipping policy (initially filed by only two identified, currenly employeed, dealers, however is is broad enough to collectively encompass, in anonymity, based on behalf of ALL the dealers at WLV). There are apparently some meritable legal challenges to this and a viable chance WLV will not prevail. This has to be one of the dumbest moves ever undertaken by any major gaming operator by commingling dealer's tokes with floor management salaries - as a result the morale over there has been severely impacted and guests have recently been reporting a noticeable decline in the attitudes of staff across the board!

November 20, 2006 1:34 PM Posted by detroit1051

From LV Business Press:
We hear ... that dealers at Wynn Las Vegas are being required to attend two-hour meetings with veteran union buster Mark Garrity. Steve Wynn himself is rumored to have attended one of these tough-love sessions and blown his stack, threatening to fire any dealer who wanted to join a union. (Word is that 200 dealers have signed up.) Multiple National Labor Relations Board complaints are alleged to be in the offing. The more the situation deteroriates at Wynn Resorts, the less likely that other Strip casinos will emulate Wynn's forcible redistribution of wealth from dealers to pit bosses.
Las Vegas Business Press "Strip Tease" Column

November 20, 2006 2:48 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

I would just like to add somewhat more recent + updated developments regarding detroit's post, as published in last Friday's Business PRESS, it looks as though the (NLRB) National Labor Relations Board will most likely be opening an investigation into Wynn Resorts' apparent FLAGRANT violation of [Section 7] of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows for the right of ALL employees to be able to unionize by choice based on an elective, unanimous + collective vote without hindrance by management. This ongoning labor dispute including the highly controversial forced toke sharing debacle involving what are clearly 'manangement personnel' at WLV (yes, there is technically a major distinction between those guys and the dealers themselves) literally FORCED upon the WLV dealers for fear of losing ther jobs, is evolving into what might become some real big problems down-the-line for WYNN to overcome, I hope that the feds have the balls to eventually follow through and decide to charge Wynn Resorts with this very SERIOUS federal violation of U.S. labor laws, as is apparently evident by Steve's reported + alleged "illegal" threats to fire or otherwise termiinate anyone who participates. I've said it here before, and I will say it once again, for those of you that don't seem to get "it", considering the recent negative events affecting this operator (i.e the Binion fiasco, etc.), there appears to be real big trouble brewing in WYNNLAND! Wake up and smell the coffee people!

November 20, 2006 10:46 PM Posted by mike_ch

That kind of hard-assed labor management is Adelsonesque. You either love it or you hate it, I guess.

So, stockholders, how do you feel? While it's easy to view ALL casino owners as rich bastards, if they 'give' too much in one direction or another then everyone wants a take, becomes organized, etc. That seems to be what we're seeing here. On the other hand, while most gaming jobs are who-you-know affairs where continued seniority equals accepted incompetence, dealers arguably have a talent that could be plied elsewhere. It will definitely make dealer-hunting more difficult if they don't lower their standards, since everyone left at Bellagio and MGM probably feels pretty good about their location comparatively.

This is entering quagmire territory and I bet they're wishing they could put the genie back in the bottle. Steve chose perhaps inadvertently to give a little bigger piece of the pie for one piece of the equation, and now employees are willing to fight over their share.

At first I thought this was a company-wide change and being done in LV mainly to be consistent, but that the change was REALLY made to draw quality pit bosses in Macau since they're so heavy on tables over there. But if they're going to war like this in NV then they've got to have deeper motivations than that.

November 22, 2006 9:05 AM Posted by Hunter

This is an opinion on the topic written by a dealer at Sunset Station:

Interesting take.

I agree that I don't think they realized the tempest they were releasing here. This is not going away.

November 22, 2006 11:14 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

I just had to post this breaking news here; as reported this morning in the R-J regarding "my buddy Kirk" as earlier had been attributed in representing my sentiment towards him in this thread. It looks like Kerkorian is now increasing his stake in MGM/MIRAGE to 62%! What incredible timing and shrewdness considering where MIGM/MIRAGE is now headed in terms of its ultimate domination of the entire luxury gaming market. They have already dumped their Primm and other mid-range properties in order to concentrate on CityCenter, and their other proposed massive projects. It's absolutely mind-boggling to analysts and other gaming industry watchers the undeniable level of business acumen that this man has at age 89, considering that he never even graduated from high school! How anyone with knowledge would consider that Steve Wynn is even in the same league as Kerkorian in terms of sheer, keen business insight, must be smoking something...

Kerkorian bids for greater MGM Mirage share
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, the majority shareholder in casino giant MGM Mirage, moved this morning to increase his ownership stake in the company. Through Tracinda Corp., his wholly owned investment vehicle, the 88-year-old Kerkorian offered to buy 15 million shares of MGM Mirage at $55 each. The bid is 12 percent higher than MGM's $49 closing price Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. If the offer is completed, Kerkorian's stake in MGM Mirage would increase to almost 62 percent.

MGM Mirage operates 10 Strip casinos, including the The Mirage, MGM Grand and Bellagio, and is building the $7 billion Project CityCenter. The announcement, made before the opening of the stock market, sent shares of MGM up more than 8 percent.
Posted: 9:55 a.m.

November 24, 2006 8:01 PM Posted by mike_ch

Update: Today there was a sign-waving demonstration/protest out on the sidewalk side of Mt Steve.

November 25, 2006 5:29 AM Posted by detroit1051

Here's the RJ's take on the picketing that mike_ch reported. I hope Wynn is consulting with, and listening to, damage control experts. This could snowball. Still, I have to wonder about the motives of the inactive union, International Union of Gaming Employees. Are they using Wynn as a way to become active again?

November 25, 2006 5:35 AM Posted by detroit1051

IUGE's home page:

November 25, 2006 8:23 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

It looks like Steve's spin doctors will be working overtime on this one! From what I have been told by inside sources, this is only the tip of the iceberg, expect more protests to come and the potential of additional legal action brought on behalf on the dealers as well. As I previously reported, the employee morale at WLV has been negatively affected and has been in a state of continuous decline ever since this new policy was enacted as a result of this really stupid maneuver on behalf of management. WLV needs to do major damage control immediately in order to avoid what will develop into a dose of bad publicity surrounding that property as well as Wynn Resorts's policies in general. Can't say that I'm too broken up over this latest fiasco however, maybe Wynn will realize [himself] that he just doesn't happen to rule the world after all! LOL

November 25, 2006 10:53 AM Posted by Hunter

I wonder if Binion leaving has anything to do with the changes in the tip strategies?

Binion is legendary for really caring about his employees and who knows, maybe he really didn't see this one Steve's way and couldn't continue.

I'm just spitballing but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a contributing factor.

November 25, 2006 2:12 PM Posted by Hunter

This thing is wayyyyy out of control in terms of damaging the image of the company.

This is a serious problem.

Do you think that Wynn Resorts will reconsider their position and pay these guys wages from their coffers vs. the tips?

The goodwill is being seriously damaged here. They tried to pull this move off but from what I can tell, this isn't going to take. They need to re-evaluate and possibly make some changes.

November 25, 2006 3:34 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I am here at Wynn now. I saw the pictures of the protest, but when I arrived here yesterday about noon, I never saw the people in person. Then I never went outside of the hotel after that for the day. I will tell you, business is crazy, they are busy as hell. This hotel is as busy and crowded as I have ever seen it. If business is hurting, you sure couldn't tell by looking. I don't think they can go back now on this tip policy, its like Iraq, you stop now, then you really look stupid. I see them pressing forward from here. Honestly, I don't think it will hurt business a bit. The average person just dosen't care. And for ever unhappy dealer they have making 90,000 a year, there are 10 more standing in like waiting to take their place. Nobody wants a pay cut, but these guys are still paid better than almost anybody else in town, expect possibly Bellagio. On another note, I have the most amazing view overlooking Encore.

November 25, 2006 4:19 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Despite the many pro-Wynn supporters and those pundits who have vehemently opposed my original comments that this tip-sharing policy, combined with the recent Binion "situation", could prove to be potentially devastating for Wynn Resorts in the long-term unless they react quickly at major damage control. The fact that pickets are actually marching on the designated public property frontage + legally protesting directly in front of WLV, brings back old memories of the decade long dispute involving the New Frontier Hotel back in the nineties. I sincerely doubt that Wynn will ever reconsider [his] position on this (or anything) until it is ultimately tested in a Federal Court as being a flagrant, possible criminal violation of National Labor Statutes (in connection with the consitutional right of its employees to unionize.) Currently, the situation presents itself as yet another ambiguous, legal quagmire that WLV now finds themselves embroiled in, however I can assure you, Steve's off-balanced inflated ego will prevent him from ever backing down from his previous decision(s) unless he is forced to do so.

November 25, 2006 4:23 PM Posted by Hunter

As a fan of Wynn Las Vegas, I still agree with Leonard that this is very bad for the company. It paints a very unflattering picture of the company and ultimately of Wynn himself and this is after he has worked extremely hard to foster a different image.

I hope that they come up with some sort of compromise before this goes too far.

The New Frontier situation was ugly.

November 25, 2006 5:02 PM Posted by detroit1051

The RJ story this morning said they're planning three more protests before year-end. If there isn't some compromise or recission by then, next year could turn into a very ugly New Frontier type situation. If, as reported last week in the LV Business Press, Steve attended dealer meetings and "blew his stack", it's bad. Steve needs to step back and have someone less volatile work on this. Of course, some may want this anger to continue for a while because it will guarantee that no other casinos will do anything similar.

Brian, thanks for the report. A friend sent me an email this morning. He went to Wynn at 6:30PM last evening, Friday, to play poker. The garage was full, so he gave up and went to The Mirage. He also said poker is really slowing down at the Strip properties. Was it only a passing fad?

November 25, 2006 10:19 PM Posted by mike_ch

Wynn has done far worse than this, and that's only counting the stuff that's been made public. Such as the time when he lined up a bunch of Mirage waitresses and gave them a tongue-lashing about their weight.

I'm sure they'll always have good dealers from the resorts a cut below, but I think they'll never be able to draw from the equal resorts again. They'll be the last resort in the top tier, because who wants to give up cash just to work for Wynn?

Brian said:
"I don't think they can go back now on this tip policy, its like Iraq, you stop now, then you really look stupid. I see them pressing forward from here."

That's the most bizarre analogy I've seen in a while, but you can adjust it and it's by resoring the tips while giving the bosses enough money to make the difference. I'm not an investor or an economist, but it seems to me if they had offered shares of stock or something other than raiding the tip jar this issue wouldn't have happened.

OTOH, the opposition has to be careful about villifying Wynn without accidentally trying to cast a pity party on themselves. Detroit's RJ article quotes someone as saying these dealers now making 90-large a year will "live paycheck to paycheck." I almost choked on my Pepsi while reading that.

November 25, 2006 11:52 PM Posted by Hunter

Glad to see we are back on track with the conversation...

mike_ch: I agree that the 'paycheck to paycheck' thing was laughable. Come on. And yes, doing something like options instead of taking their salary would have been an interesting idea. Look at how software companies have held on to valuable employees with stock options - it has worked well for San Jose, what about Las Vegas?

This particular union does seem sketchy - sorta opportunist.

Still, I am still looking at this as a blunder on Wynn Resorts side. Even if the business concept was sound (and that is debatable), the PR has been handled horribly.

November 26, 2006 4:52 AM Posted by detroit1051

"Paycheck to Paycheck." I don't know. A Vegas friend who knows a lot of dealers, both at locals casinos and on the Strip, told me in the past it's amazing how many do live paycheck to paycheck. I know it's a generalization, but he seems to be well tuned in to casino workers.

November 26, 2006 1:10 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

This comment appeared in yesterday's R-J (e-forum) on the topic of the the WLV tip-sharing policy. This sentiment towards Steve as an operator in comparison to Kerkorian + Adelson is shared by more people in the gaming industry than anyone realizes because of their fear of reprisal from the almighty, "bully" Steve Wynn. I could not agree more with this particular poster's opinion nor said it better myself (it is right on-point):

Re: The real deal about Wynn Tip Sharing


Wynn uses intimidation to demand submissive compliance. Sheldon Adelson and Kirk Kirkorian use financial reward, promotion and genuine caring to command respect and admiration from their front line employees. Three men wholly billionaire gaming giants: one throws a temper tantrum over a score and STEALS dealer tokes to stroke his management; the other two gentlemen compensate their executive authorities from gaming revenue EARNED by gaming operations.

This isn�t about building successful casinos. It�s about doing the right thing. It�s about treating people with appreciation and dignity. It�s about giving the little guy an opportunity to make a living, not merely surviving day to day existing on nickels and dimes.

The sum of genius and money do not equal character.

November 26, 2006 2:05 PM Posted by Hunter

We were doing so well there for a minute! Let's get back on topic so I don't have to close the thread.
Thanks guys.

November 26, 2006 4:33 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter: At this juncture, there should not be any practicable issues with THIS specific thread that would require you to close it, you are most probably referring to the "Kerkorian Boosts MGM/MIRAGE Stake" thread instead, and JOHN's provocative post earlier this morning and my subsequent response to his antagonistic + taunting remarks, which [his] sole purpose appears to be to try and propagate continued personal insults towards me as evidenced in his most recent comment. I have made every reasonable attempt to stay "on-point" when discussing and responding to the related topic(s) at hand and all of my my collective posts clearly reflect this. Might I suggest that you permanently ban or otherwise censure certain, albeit, "regular contributors" who continue to exhibit this behavior, absent any provocation, because these folks obviously are no longer offering any [constructive] or [positive] contribution to the primary focus of why you created this forum in the first place...

November 26, 2006 5:25 PM Posted by charlie

A couple of comments...I can see all 3 sides of "tipgate", the dealers, floor managers and executive management. While it certainly stings to take a 20K pay cut, the dealers have, more than any other group of employees, reaped the benefits of Wynn's business strategy - premium players and high-end free and independent travellers. Other than obtaining the position and executing it according to policies and regulations, the dealers have pretty much been grandfathered into a 100K job, which is way on the upper-end of dealers salaries, if not considerably past the upper-end. Therefore the dealers should not have the attitude that they are "guaranteed" this level of pay. If they are living "paycheck to paycheck" on 90K to 100K, SHAME ON THEM. I don't feel sorry for them, nor should the front desk, housekeeping, the cooks, engineering and maintenance, ground crew, not to mention the hosts and the floor managers. I see a whole a bunch of people that work very hard to make the place work, but they seem very happy to be making a little bit more than the guy down the street, not even a whole a bunch more like the dealers.

As the person providing the tips, I think the dealers and the floor managers should be fairly compensated. I'm tipping for my overall experience, which includes both. Also from my POV, the floor manager and the casino host have much more to do with my experience than the dealer. I can always switch tables, but the dealer and the host make the decisions that really matter. Therefore, I understand why Wynn wants his best people in these positions and a major disproportion of pay should not be the reason why people would choose not to be in that position.

The dealers should feel fortunate that they were selected to deal at Wynn. The applicant to position ratio was staggering for these Wynn dealer positions. There are plenty of great people at Station, Palms, Boyd, etc., that maybe got passed on initially, that might just welcome the opportunity to effectively double their salaries, and probably quadruple their disposible income.

November 26, 2006 6:56 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

The factual reality is a simple as this; as a direct result of Wynn's dealer tip-sharing policy with [management], which has now resulted in SUBSTANTIALLY DECREASED revenue for even the "top dealers" over there where they are facing AT LEAST a forty large per annum income REDUCTION from what they were previously earning before this policy change came into play. It is Wynn Resorts that has continued to falsely contend to report that their dealers are the highest earners in L.V. This is absolute B.S.! Everyone in the industry is aware that similar, competing high-end properties offer equal earning potential as WLV (now after a result of this new tip-sharing policy) even potentially GREATER earning potential for their dealers. There is no question whatsoever, that the [WLV] dealers were lured into giving up lucrative positions and forfeiting seniority at many other high-end properties based on false promises, and now they are essentially held hostage for fear of losing their "coveted" jobs by having to bow to this potentially illegal after-the-fact policy. I am willing to bet the farm that NO OTHER MAJOR OPERATOR will EVER impose such an idiotic policy at their respective properties, regardless of the legal outcome. Let's just all wait and see, mark my words, Wynn Resorts will not prevail when a U.S. District judge makes the final decision on this, yes Steve, you are mere putty in the hands of the Feds...

November 26, 2006 9:29 PM Posted by charlie

King Leonard, I will admit, I have absolutely no idea on how the dealer employee (union) contracts are drafted, and what is etched into them and how that might be challenged in court. Maybe you have some knowledge that you could share.

A couple of thoughts though:
1. They should have seen this coming pre-opening and dealt with it then. There would be no shortage of highly qualified dealers to sign-up at Wynn with this rule.

2. I was shocked at the disproportion in total comp between dealers and floor management (you refer to these guys as "management", but they are not part of the Management team of Wynn LV. they are more of a line manager (sales manager, warehouse manager, etc. They are employees, not management). So this equates to an employee to employee redistribution of tips, but it should really be considered a bonus ("patron funded bonus"). If it is bonus, then why not distribute it fairly across all casino employees. This is not uncommon at all, a high-end restaurant generally pools the tips across all of the servers and the bartenders and support staff get a cut of it as well.

Like most businesses, if you want a bigger bonus, you have to grow the pie. I'm a reasonable person and would even tip a little bit more to help out the floor management. Its not like the people that gamble at Wynn don't have the money and they will gladly give a little bit more for great service.

All of this fighting only hurts the dealers more, in the long run. The casino patron has the ultimate power in this story and we can punish the dealers if they take this too far. This may not be feasible for regulatory reasons, but why not have 2 tip jars. Let me decide where the money goes.

November 27, 2006 11:41 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

charlie: From what I understand, and I am certainly not a labor relations attorney, although I have been sued myself hundreds of times by former employees regarding California labor issues, it comes down to the simple fact that the dealers all signed very specific detailed "employment agreements" prior to the September tip-policy change by Wynn Resorts. The employment agreements evidently spell out exactly how the dealers wages are to be determined, including but not limited to, any proportionate sharing of tips with casino floor managers. Wynn Resorts alternately claims that their dealers are "at-will" employees and are not in breach of the employment agreement whatsoever. What this amounts to is a really sticky mess that goes beyond the purview of the Nevada Labor Commission and possibly even the Clark County District Court system as well, and could quite possibly evolve into a federal criminal case from what I have been told, it's all really quite complex. Also, it is still unclear at the state judicial level whether or not this will become a criminal or civil action against Wynn Resorts. Everything is rather ambiguous at this stage, but no doubt a nasty can of worms has definitely been opened by Wynn Resorts. When forced to deal with the feds, something I unfortunately know all too well, even Steve with his vast financial resources is nothing more than a mere fly-speck by comparision to to unlimited resources and unbridled power of the DOJ and the government. Mind you however, this is only King Leonard's personal take on this very unfortunate situation. :-)

December 3, 2006 3:57 PM Posted by detroit1051

The 12/3 LV Sun has an article on Wynn's tip situation: