Tilman Fertitta — the billionaire restaurateur, casino operator and sole owner of Houston-based Landry's, Inc. — has been fined $15,000 for gambling.
And the kicker? He turned himself in.
It all started when Landry's purchased the former Trump Marina Hotel Casino in 2011 and transformed the Atlantic City hotspot into a Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino with $150 million in renovations and rebranding.
"[Fertitta] feels bad because he didn't know he couldn't gamble in Atlantic City."
Fertitta is no stranger to the casino lifestyle, with Golden Nugget locations in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev., plus a forthcoming spot in Biloxi.
But whereas Nevada laws stipulate that a key license holder can gamble anywhere but his or her own casino, New Jersey laws ban all Casino Key Employee License holders from gambling at any casino in Atlantic City — a regulation that rendered Fertitta's blackjack game at Borgata on Aug. 30 and gambling sprees at Revel on April 2 and June 17 illegal.
"[Fertitta] feels bad because he didn't know he couldn't gamble in Atlantic City," Tim Pohlman, executive vice president and general manager of the Golden Nugget, told the Press of Atlantic City.
Once the Golden Nugget learned of Fertitta's gambling, casino officials notified the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement of the infringement, which resulted in an investigation and a fine.
We're glad to see that Fertitta did the right thing — even if a $15,000 fine is chump change for a man of his means.