Four Iowa Casinos Fined Over Underage Gambling Violations

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Four casinos in Iowa are paying a hefty price for not playing by the rules. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) has sent the gambling properties fines for violating the state’s age restrictions, with the quarter of casinos on the hook for a combined $130,000. One of the casinos received two fines and is now forced to pay $60,000 for its momentary lapses in reason.

Iowa Casinos Not Playing by the Rules

In Iowa, as with most states, entering a casino’s gambling floor means being 18 years old or older. The properties are meant to verify their patrons’ ages before allowing access, but several casinos in the state, either through temporary amnesia or willful omission, neglected to play by the rules. They now have to pay significant fines to the IRGC; however, have more than likely already made up for the amount they will have to pay.

The first, according to IRGC administrator Brian Ohorilko, is the Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington. It’s on the hook for $30,000 after it was determined that a minor was milling about the gambling floor after gaining access without being stopped by security or casino personnel to verify his age. It was never determined whether the individual gambled; however, Ohorilko explained that he spent about 47 minutes on the gambling floor and “based on a preponderance of the evidence,” the commission decided he had, in fact, gambled.

Ohorilko added that the fine for a violation such as this is typically $20,000; however, the issue was exacerbated by a lack of surveillance coverage and the “age of the minor.” The individual’s age wasn’t specified.

Horseshoe Casino Hit with Two Violations

The Horseshoe Casino, a Caesars Entertainment-operated property in Council Bluffs, was rewarded with fines totaling $60,000 for its transgressions. One involved an underage female who visited the casino this past January with an adult. She was seen gambling at several slot machines unabated for more than a half-hour.

The second took place a few months later. A 17-year-old female managed to gain access to the gambling floor with no difficulty and gambled for five hours, according to Ohorilko. It isn’t clear if the two fines were for $30,000 each or if one carried a higher penalty than the other.

Polk County-owned Casino Also Fined

The Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel in Altoona is owned by Polk County and operated by a non-profit, 13-member board of directors. However, not even government-led casinos are immune from the IRGC, and Prairie Meadows has to pay a $20,000-fine for allowing an underage gambler to enter with two adults. He was never challenged by casino personnel and was seen gambling for about an hour. He was only extricated from the casino when finally challenged by a security guard.  

The final property is a Boyd Gaming venue in Northwood. The Diamond Jo Worth Casino was fined $20,000 for allowing a minor to gamble for two hours. He was never challenged by casino personnel, but was finally identified by casino staff before being asked to leave.

Ohorilko points out that the violations were the first for all four properties in the past year. He didn’t specify if the fines had already been paid, or if the casinos are challenging the violations.

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