Valley Forge Casino Adds Infrared Cameras to Catch Irresponsible Parents

While casinos cannot always be held accountable for their patrons’ behavior, this doesn’t mean they would not want to do the right thing anyway. Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge Casino Resort is one of those facilities that is taking matters into its own hands to deliver on a more responsible gambling experience even when adults fail to. 

The casino is installing infrared cameras to spot minors who have been left in cars in the parking lot while their parents or guardians take a quick swing at the slots or tables inside, a behavior that has already got the bad press to several casino facilities across the US. 

As a result, the resort will have the means to preemptively intervene in those cases when minors are left unsupervised as the cameras can detect heat and dispatch surveillance and security teams to check. This means that guards patrolling the parking lots will be able to detect unsupervised minors and children left in cars with tinted windows. 

Boyd Gaming, Valley Forge Casino Resort’s parent company, has vowed to spend $776,000 on prevention and educating patrons about leaving unsupervised minors, a problem that is surprisingly common and usually attracts bad press, shifting the blame on casinos rather than irresponsible adults

The company is planning to introduce warning signs that explicitly prohibit this behavior. There has been a recent spike in the number of parents or guardians traveling to casinos and leaving their children unsupervised. In 2021 alone, there have been 22 such incidents, compared to only 15 in the three years prior. 

Valley Forge has dispatched more security personnel on its parking lot to ensure that patrons are aware and they stay at their best behavior. 

Adults Who Fail to Live Up to Adulthood

The issues involving adults leaving children behind have increased during the pandemic and the following reopening of casino properties. Pent-up demand is one reason for this; irresponsible parenting is another.

The law, though, is clear, and leaving kids in vehicles unintended in casinos’ parking lots is a punishable offense that may be prosecuted in a court of law and usually leads to a lifetime ban from a casino’s premises. 

Speaking to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday last week, Valley Forge attorney Adrian R. King Jr. condemned the behavior and said that the company would address the issue and act. The attorney called such decisions “dumb” and was thankful that those actions had not yet produced a tragic incident. 

The number of adults excluded from Pennsylvania casinos since 2011 is 131, specifically for leaving unsupervised children in the parking lot. Another issue has been asking members of the staff to look after the children while patrons walked in to gamble, which the PGCB described as another disturbing issue. 

The Valley Forge has had its fair share of similar accidents. A security team member had to break into a car earlier this year to unlock an infant. In another case, a parent was arrested. Another individual, Jamelia Mack, was put on a casino exclusion list in April for leaving two minors outside for two hours while she was gambling at the Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino. 

The frequency of such cases continues to grow to the disquiet of regulators and casinos who are beefing up their measures and trying to make sure patrons’ bad decisions don’t translate into tragic incidents. 

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