Casino May Be Fined for Nelly's Treatment

By | February 20, 2004 at 12:00 AM

A Missouri casino faces a possible $50,000 fine for allegedly giving the rapper Nelly special treatment.

State regulators claim the President Casino on the Admiral let Nelly skirt rules intended to limit the amount of money patrons can bet. The Missouri Gaming Commission proposed the fine Thursday.

The commission alleges the casino violated some 10 state laws and rules while accommodating Nelly, who in the documents is referred to only as the “Patron.”

The casino hosted a late-night birthday party last November for Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes Jr. Regulators allege he and his eight-person entourage entered the casino without first getting the required electronic identification cards that limit gamblers to purchasing no more than $500 worth of gambling chips or tokens every two hours. Other rules also were broken, regulators say.

Gaming Commission executive director Kevin Mullally confirmed that the patron in question was Nelly. He said Nelly is not being targeted for penalties because it is the casino that is responsible for upholding state gambling laws.

The casino has 30 days to appeal the case to a state administrative hearing office, which would gather more evidence and make a final recommendation to the Gaming Commission.

Ralph Vaclavik, President Casino’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said casino officials still are looking into the incident.

Nelly publicist Juliette Harris of Los Angeles said Nelly did not intentionally skirt Missouri’s gambling policies.

The Grammy winner’s hits include “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma.”

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