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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why a man sued a Las Vegas casino after losing money

Gambling while drunk is usually not a good idea unless the money has already been accounted for as a loss by the gambler and the law allows for it. Even so, the consequences of such actions are often less than savory and even lead to lawsuits. This is evident in a case involving a California man named Mark Johnston. Moreover, Mr. Johnston sued a Las Vegas casino called the Downtown Grand for both sullying his name and allowing him to gamble away money while visibly intoxicated.

Casino gambling lawsuit
Casinos are responsible for gambler conduct in some cases
On Super Bowl Sunday, or Feb. 2, 2014, Mark Johnston incurred losses of $500,000 while playing the casino card games pai gow and black jack.

The losses Mr. Johnston attained were not completely realized as $250,000 was lost through an unpaid casino line of credit or “marker.” Furthermore, CNN claimed a casino host was aware of the fact the Mr. Johnston was also taking a prescribed medication that amplifies the effects of alcohol. Later on, employees of the Downtown Grand informed another venue to be wary of Mr. Johnston.

Nevada legislation

According to Section 5.011 of the Nevada law titled “Regulation 5”, and in accordance with the Nevada Gaming Control Act, it “...may be determined to be an unsuitable method of operation,” if a gaming establishment “permits persons who are visibly intoxicated to participate in gaming activity“ and “allows complimentary service of intoxicating beverages in the casino areas to persons who are visibly intoxicated.” In other words, it is illegal for a casino to both serve beverages and condone gaming to persons who are obviously drunk.

Proving intoxication

Proving visible intoxication will require Johnston's legal representation to gather suitable evidence. Such proof includes eyewitness testimony and video camera surveillance footage per CBS news. If the beverages were served via casino comp card orders, then there may also be a record of the drinks within the casino's digital records or account holder profile information. The duration of time in which the drinks containing alcohol were consumed and the volume of alcohol in each beverage are also relevant.

Validation of sullying

If the sullying that is said to have damaged Mr. Johnston's reputation is proven, then it may be determined to be defamation. The Kelly/Warner law firm states that in Nevada, “Defamation is a false and offensive written or spoken statement that damages the subject of the statement.” Moreover, “The plaintiff has the burden of proof to demonstrate a statement’s falsity in civil court.” This will require Johnston's lawyer(s) to prove specific statements were actually made in addition to demonstrating how his reputation was actually damaged.

This is not the first Nevada lawsuit against a casino, nor is it the first lawsuit that claims unlawful serving of alcohol while gaming. More specifically, in 2007, a gambler named Terrance Watanabe lost $127 million playing casino games. His legal case also claimed the casino served him pain medication per the Wall Street Journal. Ultimately, that case was settled via arbitration per Find Law, but the moral of the story is alcohol and gambling are a risky venture regardless of the outcome. 

Image: Jamie Adams; "Gambling Chips"; CC BY-SA 2.0

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to kit out your new office for as cheap as possible

Office furniture tips
Office furniture does not have to cost a fortune
By Ben Livings

Furniture on a budget

When you are starting up a new office, money can be tight. Although you might want the latest office chairs and designer tables, you know that you have to be a lot more practical than that.

Start-up offices often need all kinds of furniture, from basic seats to desks and filing cabinets. That can cost a lot of money and is often counted as a significant part of your budget when planning your business start-up. If you need to furnish your office as cheaply as possible, there are some alternatives available and second-hand furniture could be your solution.

Second-hand office furniture

Second-hand furniture could be the solution that you need to resolve your problems. Pre-used office furniture can be found for much less than you would expect to pay for a brand new piece of furniture and it will allow you to buy items which you would not have been able to afford if they had been brand new. Second-hand office furniture can also be perfect for new additions to your business when the office is growing, allowing you to slot a table and chairs into any office without blowing the budget. You can also purchase reduced-price furniture as a quick way to fill an office, slowly replacing the cheaper furniture over time.

Desks and tables on a budget

Office desks and tables are often one of the most expensive investments for a new office, and so buying second-hand furniture can help to keep your office space in budget. There are several different types of desk to be had, from straight forward desks with a single set of drawers down one side, to wave desks and radial desks which are more designer, and can fit in with the themes of a modern office.

Chairs on a budget

You will also need to supply your new office with a number of chairs. How many chairs you will need exactly will depend on the size of the office, who will need chairs for work, and the size of the office. For example, a small office will only need desk chairs or operator chairs, while a larger space might also need visitor and meeting chairs, receptionist chairs, and canteen seating. Finding these seats in good condition is not as easy as locating well-made tables, and so it is important to rely on a company with a good reputation, and knowledge of office furniture.

Buying on a budget

Along with all other parts of your business start-up program, you will need to set a firm budget for buying your furniture, so you know exactly how much you are investing. Once bought for the business, this furniture becomes part of your assets, and so sticking to the budget is important, as it lets you know exactly how much you have in furniture and other removable items. Buying on a budget will also ensure that you don't overspend, and end up with furniture that you don't really need. You should also contact your local tax office to find out what of your second-hand office furniture can be written off as depreciation each year.

About the author: Ben Livings is the Director for second-hand office furniture company- Sadlers Farm Office Furniture. Ben thinks there is no need to spend a fortune on kitting out a new office and likes to offer advice to businesses on a budget.

Image: DT/7 Images/Pixabay; US-PD

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How employers can develop learnerships to attract quality candidates

By Rina Misor

If you are an employer, you may be considering implementing a learnership. There are several benefits to doing so. There is no better way to attract skilled workers to your company than via a learnership program. But why would you want skilled workers? Because skilled workers have a higher chance of doing the job correctly the first time. Not only that, but they are, on average more independent. Skilled workers also have a higher degree of motivation to do their job right and may be less likely to quit their job with a company.

Learnership development stages

Corporate learnershipsIn order to be able to provide a learnership, your company will first need to navigate through several stages. First, a skill shortage must first have been identified by the Services Sector Education & Training Authority (SETA). Then, the occupation needs to be defined accurately, and all of the skills and knowledge you require must be included. The more details you include at this stage, the better. Doing this will allow all who view your learnership description to know right away if pursuing the opportunity is right for them. A clear description like this also helps to save your company time, because it serves to screen out those who may not qualify.

The learnership description and other information must then be forwarded to the SGB, or Standards Generating Body. This organization will take the learnership information and head a group comprised of several individuals, including yourself, representatives of your employees and service providers. Together, the group determines the details of the learnership further, developing assessments, and stages of assessments and the ideal goal of a successfully-completed learnership. The Unit Standards for the learnership are then developed, which will each receive their own assessment guide.

Necessary additional steps

Every employer wanting to offer a learnership will, in addition to the learnership development steps above, complete additional tasks. Once the learnership agreement and contract have been developed and entered into, you can apply for a learnership grant. This grant will cover some of the costs associated with offering a learnership at your company.

You will also want to prepare for the possibility that unemployed learners will want to apply for your learnership. This will require the development of an employment contract. However, this particular contract will need to comply with the Minister of Labour's definition of a learnership.

After a contract has been developed, copies of the learnership agreement must be made so that all involved parties can sign and keep a copy. Then the identification of a mentor, which is an important step, as the mentor will be the individual who guides the learner.

The provider will be the next choice. They will be the ones who will provide all of the theoretical learnership portions. However, it's important to choose a provider who is SETA-accredited.

Organizing the learnership

Because of the fact that continual assessments must be made throughout the learnership process, time will need to be set aside for this. Time will also be needed to allow the learner to reflect on their experiences, as well as to meet with various members of their support team. It must also be ensured that all records of any results in relation to the assessment be accurately recorded.

It is incredibly important that all who work for the company, especially those in management and those who will be the peers of the learner are well aware of your company's learnerships. Their full support of your decision to offer learnerships should also be a requirement. Clear and regular communication with your company's human resources department will also be necessary, as it must be ensured that the learner is complying with the contract they signed, and that all records have been properly processed.

Developing a learnership takes time. Rushing the process will only result in inadequate training being provided, which benefits no one. A good learnership is one that has been developed as part of a commitment to improve the employment situation and employee skills.

About the author: Rina Misor writes on a variety of topics on learnerships, from both the perspective of the company as well as the candidate seeking a learnership. She recommends South Africa Learnerships & Jobs as a resource for candidates.

License: Free Images/Barunpatro; Royalty Free or iStock  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Is it safe to accept contactless card payments?

By Charles Wallace

Contactless payments are gaining a lot of popularity of late, but not without some concerns. Fears over the safety of this technology have escalated given its nature. In a typical contactless transaction, you can just wave your card in front of a chip & pin machine to complete a payment. A PIN request is not always required in this case. The embedded chip on the contactless card stores all information about a cardholder such as names, card number, expiry date, and so on. These cards are powered by RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, which allows an embedded chip to communicate with card readers at a point of sale terminal.

Mobile POS
Spending caps help reduce loss risk
The main objective of contactless payments is to speed up transactions. But, customers are concerned about how safe this technology is given the fact PINs are not always required to authorize payments. This makes it easy to make unauthorized purchases if a card is stolen.

As a business owner, you may skeptical about supporting contactless payments since it can scare many customers. However, companies that support this payment method provide several security measures to protect cardholders.

Security measures for contactless payments

It is important to note that several security measures have been put in place to make contactless card transactions more secure. To begin with, chip and pin machines that support this technology operate in the same secure networks as other types of card readers. This simply means that if your business network is encrypted, the odds of losing data through a compromised contactless payment terminal are minimal.

Secondly, RFID debit or credit cards have a limit on the maximum amount cardholders can spend to make payments. For instance, you can only make purchases under £ 20 with a contactless card in most European countries. What’s more, contactless cardholders are required to provide their PIN after about four or five transactions. With these measures in place, thieves cannot make huge purchases with a stolen credit or debit card.

Lastly, contactless cards use Near Field Communications technology to interact with a POS terminal. This means that money can only be taken from a card during a normal transaction and not by someone having some sort of reader held in close proximity to a customer’s purse or wallet. It is unlikely for customers to incur charges inadvertently if their contactless cards happen to face a card reader in a retail store. If that were to happen, retailers would know because card readers make a beeping sound after charging RFID cards.

Despite security concerns with contactless card payments, these transactions are quite secure. This is because there are payment limits on a single contactless transaction. In addition, cardholders can only make a certain number of purchases before being asked for a PIN and contactless terminals operate over the same encrypted networks as other chip and pin machines. With these security measures, cardholders are protected from fraud in case of losing their cards. Therefore, retailers should not shy away from making contactless terminals part of their point of sale systems.

About the author: This article was written by Charles Wallace, a retail storeowner based in the UK. To check out the VeriFone compatible POS system he uses to support contactless payments in his store, visit http://www.i-pos.co.uk/.

Image: HLundgaard, "Mobile payment terminal" CC BY-SA 3.0