Two of Pennsylvania’s leading casino operators have been hit with major fines for allowing underage patrons to gamble and consume alcohol on their premises.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) slapped a $100k fine on SugarHouse HSP Gaming Ltd, which operates the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, for five separate incidents of patrons under the age of 21 years old getting their gamble on.
Most of the incidents involve customers between the ages of 18 and 20 years old, who managed to gain access to the SugarHouse casino floor and wager at gaming tables and slot machines, while most of the young ‘uns also consumed alcohol.
But the most egregious case involved a 15-year-old female somehow eluding the eagle eyes of SugarHouse security and played the slots. Given the forehead-smacking lapse in security, it’s no wonder that the fine is the largest ever levied against the SugarHouse and the largest fine the PGCB has imposed on any of its dozen casinos since 2011.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands’ Sands Bethlehem property was fined $50k for four separate instances of underage illegality involving patrons aged 19 and 20 years old, some of whom spent as much as four hours on Sands’ casino floor before being rumbled. One incident involved a 19-year-old whose ID claimed he was 33.
Sands Bethlehem is the Pennsylvania poster boy for underage activity, having been repeatedly singled out on this score by the PGCB in recent years. The irony factor here reaches Trumpian levels, given Sands’ boss Sheldon Adelson’s repeated insistence that online gambling must be stopped because it’s allegedly incapable of observing know-your-customer protocols to the same exacting standards exemplified by brick-and-mortar gaming joints. Ahem.
Both Sands and SugarHouse were suitably contrite following their PGCB spanking, with SugarHouse saying it has instructed security guards to start quizzing suspiciously fresh-faced 33-year-olds regarding their Zodiac sign, rather than simply asking their birthdate.
Sands VP and general counsel Michael Magazzu said the company was installing a “more robust ID scanning system” at each of the casino’s entry points, which, along with other measures, will hopefully have “a significant impact on our ability to combat this problem in 2017.”
Sands Bethlehem CEO Mark Juliano claims the property turns away around 300 underage customers per day, but it’s worth noting that at least one of the underage gamblers involved in the recent fines was turfed only after she tried to collect on a $1,624 slots jackpot. No prizes for guessing whether she left with her winnings.