May 10, 2022 2 min read


Man Leaves Children in Rivers Casino Parking Lot in Des Plaines

Parents in the United States continue to leave their children in casino parking lots while adults go in to gamble. And as this continues, regulators and casinos are joining forces to ensure that fewer instances of such negligence are allowed to happen. The latest case comes out of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois over the weekend.

Parent in Rivers Casino Arrested

Two children were left to wait outside in the car while the father walked inside to place a bet. The kids aged three and five were not injured but they had been left in the car for an undetermined period of time when casino security saw them and called the police.

The father was identified as Esteban Meraz, 38, a resident of Chicago. He was approached by police officers on-site at the sportsbook and is now facing two counts of endangering the life and health of a child. He will now face prosecution with social services usually getting involved in these cases as well.

Similar incidents have been very common across the United States. In one instance taking place in Ohio, a man left a seven-year-old for half an hour at the Belterra Park’s garage. A similar case in Roanoke Casino had a 35-year-old woman charged with three counts of various misdemeanors, including child desertion.

Parents Abandon Children to Gamble

Marieny Elena Guimera-Revelo from Florida was charged last year with neglect for allegedly leaving two children in her care while she was playing poker at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood. Worse, even babies have been left in cars outside of casinos unattended while their parents ventured inside to gamble.

The cases of such neglect have led regulators and casinos to up their security on-site casinos and sportsbooks with watchdogs threatening serious fines to establishments that fail to provide adequate monitoring and security.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has issued lifetime bans to adults from the state casinos over the desertion of children. Abandonment of children in parking lots across the nation’s commercial casinos is observed on all levels of social strata with even highly-educated individuals neglecting parental duties to get their game on.

Back in July 2021, a baby was left in a car just outside Bighorn Casino in North Las Vegas. The heat could have killed the baby, authorities alleged, with the culprit, a 39-year-old man, later arrested.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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