Wynn Resorts to Pay $5.6m Settlement in Casino Dealer Tip Sharing Dispute

  • About 1,000 current and former table game dealers at Encore and Wynn Las Vegas will get a share
  • Most of the dealers will get less than $4,170 apiece from the settlement
  • The tip sharing policy was put in place over concerns dealers were earning more than supervisors
  • Dealers had to share about 12% of their tips with the supervisors
  • The dealers were attempting to get back as much as $50m in lost tips
casino dealer shuffling cards
Wynn Resorts will pay a settlement of $5.6m to about 1,000 casino dealers to end a class action lawsuit regarding a tip sharing dispute. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Approval for the settlement

Wynn Resorts Ltd. will pay a $5.6m settlement to about 1,000 table game dealers who currently or formerly worked at the Encore and Wynn Las Vegas casino resorts.

claimed Wynn Resorts was in violation of labor laws by forcing dealers to share their tips with supervisors

The settlement comes as a result of legal action from the dealers that claimed Wynn Resorts was in violation of labor laws by forcing dealers to share their tips with supervisors or managers. US District Judge Andrew P. Gordon approved the settlement on Friday.

The judge stated: “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.”

Breakdown of the payouts

Of the $5.6m settlement, $1.4m will go toward attorney fees and $10,000 will cover various litigation costs. The plaintiffs in the original lawsuits will get $10,000, while the 1,000 or so dealers will get less than $4,170 each. Those people who are a part of the settlement class action can decide to accept or decline the offer. If they decide to decline, they have the option to file their own actions.

Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver acknowledged the settlement, stating that the casino company was happy that the parties were able to reach an amicable conclusion to the matter. The UAW Local 355 gaming union that represents the Wynn dealers did not comment on the settlement.

The tip sharing policy

Former Wynn Resorts CEO and founder Steve Wynn implemented the policy of sharing tips with the supervisors of table games back in September 2006. The Wynn Las Vegas had opened its doors the previous year and was attracting a gambler base that was tipping generously.

Steve Wynn had concerns that dealers could earn a lot more than supervisors, which in turn would act as a disincentive for employees to move up in the ranks. Dealers had to start sharing approximately 12% of pooled tips with the “casino service team leads.” The dealers claimed that these team leads were supervisors, while Wynn Resorts denied that this was the case.

In March 2018, Congress passed legislation that allowed for tip sharing with workers who don’t usually get them. Supervisors, however, are not eligible to receive such tips.

The company said that the casino service team leads were eligible to get tips as they did not have any influence over the dealers’ work schedules or pay. This meant that the team leads could not discipline the dealers.

A long-running battle

The dealers proceeded to file federal lawsuits in 2013 and 2018 in an attempt to get back as much a $50m worth of tips. One of the Wynn dealers claimed that she had lost out on $100,000 as a result of this policy. This matter has taken many twists and turns over the years, including numerous appeals, changing legislation, and Wynn Resorts attempting to bring the case to the Supreme Court.

When current CEO Matt Maddox took over in 2018, he attempted to quell the situation by giving the dealers their first pay raise in about a decade. He increased their hourly wage by $2, worth about $4,000 over the course of a year. However, this did not deter the dealers from their legal action.

Wynn Resorts was the only Las Vegas Strip casino company to have casino service team leads and a tip sharing policy in place. The company eventually got rid of this role and the tip sharing policy in November 2018.

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