The Gaming Control Board in Pennsylvania (PGCB) has approved fines against three casinos. These casinos committed a series of violations, amounting to a total of US$77,500 in fines. The fines came as a result of the approval of the Board during a public meeting.
In the meeting, they reached a unanimous consent, which involved the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and the following companies:
- Holdings Acquisition Company, L.P., operating the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Fined a total of US$42,500 for violating procedures for handling self-excluded individuals (US$22,500). Also fined for holding a series of five poker tournaments without the approval of the PGCB (US $20,000);
- Downs Racing, L.P., operating Lackawanna County’s Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Fined US$25,000 for violating procedures occurring in the Poker Room;
- SugarHouse HSP Gaming L.P., operating Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino. Fined US$10,000 for not preventing underage individuals from access to the gaming floor.
Allowing Self-Excluded Players
The first fine against the Holdings Acquisition Company came as a result of casino staff not prohibiting three individuals on PGCB’s Self-Excluded Persons List from gambling. The individuals that had placed themselves on the Self-Exclusion List for various lengths were provided a Player’s Card, cash advances and access to table games, respectively.
Commonwealth law states that gaming facilities must deny gaming privileges to those on the Self-Exclusion list. Individuals can place themselves on the Self-Exclusion List and can choose time periods ranging from one to five years. They can also opt for a lifetime ban. However, these individuals must make a request with the PGCB to be removed from the list. This holds true even in the case that the period of the ban has expired.
The second fine of US$20,000 against the Holdings Acquisition Company was issued for holding a series of five poker tournaments. Tournaments took place before submitting a request to the PGCB and gaining an approval for the 2017 Poker Schedule. PGCB’s regulations ask that casinos that decide to hold a poker tournament to submit a proposed schedule of tournaments for approval by the Executive Director of the PGCB.
Down Racing, L.P. received a fine for failing to report a 2016 incident to the PGCB. Compromised decks with incorrect cards were used during poker play. SugarHouse HSP Gaming L.P. was fined for failing to prevent a 19-year-old from gaining access to the gaming floor and slot machines of the SugarHouse Casino. SugarHouse HSP L.P. was already fined with US$100,000 in January 2017 for five different incidents that involved individuals under the age of 21 gambling at their premises. This time, the fine was only US$10,000 because it was only one underage individual involved.
In order to avoid steep fines, casinos have to comply with gaming laws set forth by regulatory agencies. However, these casinos have to pay fines on a regular basis because individuals that are either underage or on the Self-Exclusion List often slip through the cracks and casinos have to take the responsibility.