On September 21, 2022, Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) imposed three fines totaling $280,825 on two gaming companies, namely Mount Airy Casino Resort, in Poconos, and Pilot Travel Centers and PJF Southeast. The financial penalties were imposed following negotiations between the Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC) and the infringers.
Minors Not Allowed to Gamble in Casinos
In the first case, during its public hearing, the PGCB approved two settlements reached between OEC and Mount Airy No. 1 LLC, the casino’s operator, which resulted in two financial penalties. Mount Airy Casino Resort was fined $160,000 for three incidents in the last year, in which the casino allowed kids and teens between 11 and 18 to access the casino floor and gamble without having been checked by the security guards. A boy aged 18 accessed the casino alone my mistake. Two twins at 13 years, who were accompanied by their mother, were found playing slot machines. In the third incident, an 11-year-old girl, who was with her parents in the casino, played ten different slot machines.
According to Pennsylvania gaming laws, only individuals aged 21 and over can gamble. Per the said legislation, individuals under 21 can only be accompanied across a gaming floor in a resort establishment, like Mount Airy. Underage individuals receive wristbands, which show that these people are minors.
“COVID 19 Requirements Make It Difficult to Judge Individuals’ Age”
Denise J. Smyler, the chairperson of PGCB, stated that the board was “extremely” disappointed by the casino. She added that probably the entire staff of the casino needs retraining. Lianne Asbury, executive director of security of Mount Airy, commented that due to the COVID-19 mask requirements, it was difficult to judge a person’s age.
In addition, Mount Airy Casino Resort received another fine from the PGCB on Wednesday – this time a $100,825 penalty for failing to file 32 corporate or individual renewal applications by the statutorily mandated due dates. The missing re-licensing of one individual resulted in the failure to meet a mandated condition related to the slot machine license of the Monroe County-based gaming operator.
The PGCB did not comment on whether the kids or their parents would face charges related to the gambling of the underage individuals.
In 2020, following an investigation by the PGCB’s Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement, Mount Airy was fined $90,000 for the issuance of complimentary free slot machine play.
Pilot Travel Center and PFJ Southeast Fined Due to License Issues
In another case, the PGCB approved a settlement reached by OEC and Pilot Travel Center and PFJ Southeast, according to which the latter consented to pay a $20,000 fine for failing to notify the PGCB of an amendment in control of the license of its VGT establishment.