Hundreds of current and former at the Wynn Las Vegas casino hope for a payday in their suit involving dealer tip sharing. On Monday, the US Supreme Court denied a petition submitted by the casino to overturn a lower court’s decision upholding a now-defunct rule restricting employers’ authority to pool workers’ tips.
How tip sharing works
The Wynn Las Vegas currently has a rule that dealers must share 20% of their tips from gamblers with the pit boss, or supervisor. The company is the only one in Las Vegas that has this rule. Dealers at the Wynn have the potential to earn nearly six figures in annual salary, which could place their total compensation above what their supervisors earn.
The 15% amount can add up quickly, especially when a dealer has been successful in attracting customers and has worked in the same position for many years. In 2013, the dealers filed a lawsuit with the District Court of Nevada and came up short. However, they appealed to the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals and won. Wynn Las Vegas then took the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled on Monday not to review the issue.
The case will now return to Nevada District Judge Robert Jones. An attorney representing the dealers, Leon Greenberg, said: “I think it is not appropriate that the Wynn Casino feels it needs to take tips from the dealers to pay the floor supervisors. If they are not making enough money, the Wynn should simply pay them more.”
Around 800 individuals are involved in the case, either having worked at the Wynn Las Vegas in the past as a dealer or being currently employed in that position at the casino. If the court rules in favor of the dealers, more than $50m (£37.8m) might be paid to those involved in the case. Current dealers hope to see the policy removed so that tips from gamblers no longer have to be split with the supervisors.
Wynn will fight back
The Wynn Las Vegas has no plans to stop fighting this lawsuit, claiming that it has not violated any laws regarding this policy. The policy first went into effect in 2006 and immediately started a debate among dealers as they sought to begin legal proceedings to stop tip percentage from being paid. Despite the time when the policy began, if the dealers win, lost compensation will only be returned to those named in the suit starting from May 2011.
This latest decision by the Supreme Court does not ratify the decision by the lower court or indicate that the Wynn Las Vegas is in violation of any regulations. The casino is being represented by Eugene Scalia, of Gibson, Dunn & Grutcher. On the latest decision, spokesman for Wynn, Michael Weaver, said: “We will vigorously defend our position and anticipate a finding in our favor.”