Casinos to ban rappers?

In one of the oddest examples of music criticism Sheriff Bill Young backed by Nevada gaming regulators has declared war on gangster rap in casinos and their nightclubs. “50 Cent is the worst,” the sheriff told Las Vegas Sun, “His whole act is predicated on violence. He’s a mentor for all the other gangster rappers in the making.”

Meanwhile to make sure the warning has teeth, the Gaming Control Board has sent a note to remind casinos that they are responsible for anything that happens in nightclubs on premises including ones like Pure (Caesars) and Light (Bellagio) that are leased out by clubs independent of the casino. Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander told the Review-Journal: “Given the fact the Sherriff expressed some concern we felt it was important to remind the licensees to be diligent with these club.”

The use of the word “licensee” is not innocent. Las Vegas casino operators all have privileged licenses that can be revoked for such vague reasons as tarnishing the reputation of Nevada’s gaming industry. With billions at stake in these licenses this all but guarantees that no casino will risk holding a concert or after party by a big name rapper. And, if you think gangster rap is fine to single out, be aware that the Sheriff’s view of what fits into the genre lacks nuance.

Among the small handful of incidents that led to this letter, the most serious, were two shootings that took place after a Nelly concert at the Aladdin last May. Everything else that has taken place over the past few years at a casino or their nightclubs involves no more than a few examples of fisticuffs and officers called to a disturbance. Typical stuff for a place as wild as the Strip. The casinos could respond that this warning is nonsense and amounts to censorship. This is especially the case since no one is talking about kids here: nightclub events cater only to those over 21.