Past Transgression

Robert DeSalvio
Wynn Resorts Vice President Robert DeSalvio.

Wynn VP Robert DeSalvio Caught Violating Casino Laws

Foxwoods Fined $30,000 in 2001

Infraction Not a Factor in MGC Investigation

By Josh Resnek

Wynn Resorts Vice-President for the Everett operation Robert DeSalvio had a problem in 2001 that related directly to his integrity as an officer of Foxwoods Resort Casino where he was employed.

He was among six top executives at Foxwoods who were made to sign consent decrees and the casino then paid a $30,000 fine to settle allegations that they violated regulatory standards while trying to build a clientele of wealthy international gamblers.

De Salvio, known locally as the go to man for Wynn Resorts, was part of a plot that led to the arrests of eight high end gamblers accused of getting more than $150,000 in complimentary cash payments from Foxwoods by giving fraudulent documents to casino executives, according to information received by the Leader Herald.

It was a time when using cash discounts to lure big players became a standard practice in the industry, and it is permitted now in New Jersey and at Foxwoods.

But then, back in 1999, it was against the law.

The criminal charges against the Foxwoods gamblers, some of them millionaires, were dismissed in 1999 after they agreed to give statements to tribal and state regulators.

When the first arrests were made of two Argentinians, a half-dozen Foxwoods executives were put on voluntary vacation leave while tribal gaming regulators investigated their possible participation.

The executives returned to work a week later.

DeSalvio was one of those placed on voluntary vacation.

The two gamblers who surrendered to police had something in common – both of them told detectives they dealt with Robert DeSalvio, the senior vice-president for marketing, who signed off on their complimentary gift reimbursements. They used the money they got from the casino to lower their gambling debts.

Norman Drucker, 60, of Fort Lee, New Jersey was accused of defrauding Foxwoods of $30,000 through a jewelry purchase. He was trying to discount his casino debt of $351,500 according to a state police affidavit.

Drucker, who was interviewed by detectives at his New Jersey home, said he dealt with two people at the casino, DeSalvio and Jerry Longo – a very close friend of DeSalvio’s and part of the marketing team at Foxwoods.

“Foxwoods Casino employees told him that he could have $20,000 in merchandise shopping at Foxwoods,” the affidavit stated. ‘”Drucker stated there was nothing at Foxwoods that his wife would want. They then told him to go buy a car. Drucker told them that he already had three cars and that he did not need to spend $58,000 on a car to be reimbursed. DeSalvio and Longo then told him to get a receipt and he could get a reimbursement for the amount of the receipt.”

Drucker went to a jewelry store, bought a necklace for $23,000 and asked the store for a receipt for $53,000 to give to Foxwoods, the affidavit said.He got the receipt, gave it to casino staff, received a $53,000 voucher and applied it to his gambling debt.. DeSalvio and Foxwoods President Floyd Celey signed off on the voucher, according to the affidavit.

Curt Feuer, of Wellesley , Massachusetts, was also arrested as part of this investigation. He told state police he dealt with DeSalvio and Frank Playo.

Feuer bought a piano in January , 2000 for $18,183 according to state police. The following month, he submitted the receipt for reimbursement. At the time, he owed the casino $200,000 in gaming losses and was also trying to discount his debt. State Police said he was told that he was entitled to a 10 percent discount because Foxwoods was in competition with Atlantic City casinos, but that the $18,183 receipt was not quite large enough to reach 10 percent.

The receipt was then altered by changing the total to $28, 183, according to the affidavit, and Feuer was given a $20,000 voucher to apply toward his debt.

In March, 2001 Foxwoods Resort Casino signed consent decrees and the casino paid a $30,000 fine to settle the allegations they violated regulatory standards.

In one of the two consent decrees signed in March, 2001, four Foxwoods executives were accused of misapplying standards that were in effect before the new comping policy was approved. They were identified as Robert DeSalvio, the executive vice-president of marketing, and Frank Playo and Jerry Longo and Robert Smith, all vice-presidents of player development.

The specific allegations against each were detailed in memos. The memo regarding DeSalvio said he “authorized cash compensation vouchers of $22,500 each to patrons David Tai Chang nd his girlfriend, Shu (Winnie) Zhu for a total of $45,000…a fraudulent $58,000 receipt for a diamond ring that was never purchased was submitted in an attempt to validate the transaction.”

All six Foxwoods executives identified in the consent decrees received verbal reprimands from the Mashantucket Gaming Commission.

in April, 2001 Jerry Longo, De Salvio’s dear friend, was made a vice-president of Foxwoods Player Development team.

Fast forward to DeSalvio being named Wynn Resorts main man in Boston.

But first, he had to be investigated.

Questioning by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission investigators in August, 2014 found nothing whatsoever wrong with DeSalvio’s background, according to information received by the Leader Herald.

This is the conclusion of Lt. Kevin Condon of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau from his report: “Based on the information learned during the course of this investigation, there were no known facts that would disqualify Robert DeSalvio based on any of the criteria listed in the gaming laws or regulations.”

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