Galaxy Gaming, a Nevada-based table-game company, has been approved to do business in Arizona casinos -- despite being banned in California.
Dishonesty by Robert Saucier, the CEO of Galaxy Gaming, was cited in a ruling by a California judge last year as the main reason for a gaming-license denial.
But Saucier did not run into the same problem with Arizona authorities, who this month certified the public company following a three-year-long background investigation.
Galaxy Gaming sells proprietary table games and side-bet concepts to casinos like "Deuces Wild," a variation of stud poker with wild cards. Some of its products were already being played in Arizona tribal casinos under a temporary license.
The California Gambling Control Commission decision prohibited the company from doing business in California following a ruling by an administrative law judge -- based on what was essentially a decade-long investigation -- that a former Saucier-led company and Galaxy Gaming were "unsuitable" for the state due to Saucier's apparent deceptions.
A 106-page report and opinion by Judge Catherine Frink details numerous allegations against Saucier related to his failure to disclose full details of his litigation and financial history.
For instance, he failed to provide details about a $1.5 million court judgment against him, the ruling says. He also checked "no" on an application box asking about criminal convictions, despite a 2001 misdemeanor DUI conviction, stated he'd graduated from the University of Nevada when he hadn't, and gave misleading information about where he really lived.
"The evidence, taken as a whole, painted a portrait of a man who believed that the rules that applied to others did not apply to him," Frink wrote in her ruling. "Saucier's repeated acts of dishonesty and evasiveness raise serious questions about the likelihood that he would continue to engage in such conduct in the future, if he found himself in similar circumstances."
The company will try to appeal the ruling, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on July 30:
"It is important to note that we have a pending application with the State of California, which has not been processed or investigated to date. Mr. Saucier also intends to exercise his rights for judicial review in the California State Court system and obtain a personal finding of suitability.
There can be no assurances that the judicial review will be successful or that he will be found suitable. The Finding against our CEO could subject us to certain increased, material, known and unknown risks and uncertainties of materially adverse effects on our business and/or prospects..."
Though the California decision still stings, the company is approved in Nevada and other states, and claims to be growing fast.
"Arizona regulators found Galaxy Gaming Inc. to be cooperative and candid in providing accurate information throughout the application process," said Rick Medina, assistant director of the Arizona Department of Gaming.
Jonathan Wilcox, spokesman for Galaxy Gaming, says the company plans to appeal the Frink's ruling.
"We feel very strongly that California was wrong," Wilcox says. "We will be everywhere."
Now that Galaxy's status in Arizona is no longer uncertain, Wilcox says, "many, many more opportunities are presented to us. The clients are much more available to us now."
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