August 13, 2021 3 min read


Rivers Casino Operator Sugarhouse Fined by Pennsylvania Gaming Regulator

In the overall scheme of things, it doesn’t seem like a huge ordeal, but Sugarhouse HSP Gaming has been given a slap on the wrist by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). The casino operator was found to have violated state regulations regarding “approved internal controls” at its Rivers Casino Philadelphia property and agreed to make amends. The amount of the fine won’t put a major hole in the company’s wallet, but the nature of the violation might be cause for concern.

Casino Employee Bypasses Security Protocols

Sugarhouse is a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming and, overall, has had a relatively clean record in Pennsylvania. However, when the PGCB learned that a gaming floor employee copied surveillance footage onto his cell phone recently, the regulator wasn’t pleased. The unidentified employee reportedly copied the footage in order to settle a dispute with a casino guest; however, he did so without permission from the surveillance room shift manager. That being the case, the question of how a floor employee can easily gain access to surveillance equipment and make copies of footage – or even potentially erase it – has to be raised.

Sugarhouse agreed to pay a fine for the dereliction, and will hand over $7,500. It isn’t a huge fine – enough to get the point across. The fact that Pennsylvania’s casinos just reported a record-breaking year – from July 1, 2020, to June 30 of this year – with $3.88 billion in revenue, the amount seems insignificant.

Sugarhouse Previously Targeted by the PGCB for Violations

A couple of months ago, Sugarhouse was able to avoid a financial penalty after it was found to have violated protocols. It worked out a “non-monetary consent agreement” with the PGCB after Rivers Casino Philadelphia was found to have improperly monitored its exterior facilities last year. Two children, 2 and 4 years old, had reportedly been left in a parked car in the casino’s parking lot, yet surveillance never picked up on it. As a result, Sugarhouse agreed to revise its policies and present to the PGCB a plan detailing how employees would handle unattended children in the future.

Last year, the same property was fined by the PGCB for another violation, but the amount was substantially higher than that owed for the recent breach. Following an investigation by the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement (BIE), the regulator’s own internal investigations arm, it was determined that the casino had egregiously surpassed the limits on slot machines related to the amounts able to be distributed through complimentary free spins. In total, there were 405 breaches uncovered during the investigation that resulted in slightly more than $25,000 being put into play. For that violation, Sugarhouse had to pay a fine of $45,000.


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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