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Nevada Gaming Control Board Rules on EPL, Sex Offender Dispute

Last fall, Michael DiVita won a $20,000 seat to an Epic Poker League (EPL) Main Event through a $1,500 Pro/Am satellite. Before he could participate in the tournament, DiVita was confronted by EPL Standards and Committee Chairman Stephen Martin and informed he would not play the Main Event due to a prior sex offender conviction. DiVita initially refused the deal and stated he wanted to play but, as his side of the story goes, was told he would be stopped from playing in a very embarrassing and public fashion. He then demanded his $20,000 seat be awarded to him in cash, but the EPL refused and gave him just $1,500 as a refund for the satellite. DiVita claims Palms security was used to intimidate him into taking the deal.

In the aftermath, DiVita filed a complaint with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The team at acquired a memo from the NGCB to George Maloof, President of the Palms Casino Resort which hosts the EPL, dated January 12th of this year. In the memo, the NGCB decided that the EPL wrongfully barred DiVita from play and ordered the Palms Casino to award him $18,500 to compensate for the value of the seat he lost.

This seems like a suitable outcome to the dispute. If the EPL and/or the Palms Casino had an issue with a sex offender participating in their poker tournament, they should have prohibited him from registering or even entering the premises in the first place. Once he won a seat to the Main Event, the $20,000 cash value of the seat should have been credited to him upon the decision to bar him from the tournament. By mishandling this, the EPL and Palms Casino have now allowed a child molester to come off looking like a victim.


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