Ding, ding. Ring the bell! A long-running feud between culinary workers in Nevada and a Las Vegas casino owner is set to go another round. This time, the workers are hoping that the regulatory issues of a German bank will give them a much needed edge. Station Casinos, which operates 19 casinos throughout Nevada, filed an initial public offering last month, and the securities division of Deutsche Bank led the effort. Through a subsidiary, the bank is also a 25 percent owner of the casino company. The culinary workers union hopes to bring this detail to light as it attempts to gain leverage against Station.
So, what’s the union’s issue? When Deutsche Bank filed the public offering documentation, it failed to mention the bank’s involvement in more than $2.5 billion worth of settlement investigations so far this year. According to an article by the New York Times, these funds were used to settle investigations into its capital markets activities. Specifically, eyebrows have been raised regarding the bank’s efforts to settle a broad regulatory inquiry on interest rates in the interbank-loan market. Additionally, the bank has made payments to regulators and the Federal Reserve as a result of its dealings with customers in countries that are under sanctions by the United States.
All of this legal speak is the result of the Culinary Workers Union’s ongoing efforts to gain an advantage over Station in their preexisting feud. In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the union requested that regulators review Station Casinos’ registration filing. With Deutsche Bank’s regulatory concerns being excluded from the casino company’s IPO, the Culinary Workers Union will look to have Station placed under the microscope moving forward.
Tensions between the two parties have been escalating for years. The union has unsuccessfully attempted to organize workers at the nonunion Station properties in the past, and it recently said that it would try to unionize UFC athletes in the future. This summer, the union staged formal protests in front of the casino owner’s hotels and staged a war against an ‘irresponsible’ water fountain planned for the UFC Las Vegas headquarters.
Legal experts are skeptical about the possible impact of the Culinary Workers Union’s objections over Deutsche Bank. While local gambling industry regulators will be free to investigate potential issues, it’s unlikely to be a noteworthy concern for the multinational bank. Still, the union holds out hope. In a public letter, the union argued that, if Deutsche Bank is ruled an unsuitable owner, a forced sale of its holdings in Station Casinos could have a negative impact on shareholders.
Whether or not Deutsche Bank is deemed a suitable owner of Station Casinos by the Nevada Gaming Board, the casinos will continue to operate as normal. As long as the casinos continue to operate, the Culinary Workers Union will likely be standing by to attempt to disrupt their nonunion operations. Will the local union chapter be able to take down one of the world’s largest financial institutions? Only time will tell.