Sands Bethlehem fined $150k for 10 underage gambling incidents


sands-bethlehem-underage-gambling-drinkingStop us if you’ve heard this one already, but Las Vegas Sands’ Pennsylvania casino has been caught (again) letting young ‘uns gamble and drink.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced a whopping $182,500 in fines against three of its licensees, although the bulk ($150k) was leveled against Las Vegas Sands’ Sands Bethlehem property for underage gaming violations.

As detailed by the PGCB, Sands Bethlehem was cited for no less than 10 separate incidents over a roughly five-month span in which individuals as young as 16 years old were able to gain access to the casino’s gaming floor, where they proceeded to wager at slot machines and gaming tables.

One 20-year-old female gained access to Sands Bethlehem’s gaming floor on three separate occasions during a single day, during which she managed to play some slots and quaff some booze. Another 20-year-old female enjoyed a similar slots-and-hooch cocktail in a separate incident, while also throwing in some table game action as a chaser.

The PGCB noted that all 10 incidents were self-reported by the casino, which has gained a reputation as Pennsylvania’s premier destination for underage gamblers. In the most recent report this January, Sands Bethlehem was fined $50k for four underage violations, including a 19-year-old male whose fake ID claimed he was 33.

Sands introduced new ID scanning technology in March and the property’s general counsel Michael Magazzu told the PGCB that he’d “love to tell you we have had a perfect record since March 13, but that is not the case.” Magazzu warned that “even with the best technology, it’s very difficult to prevent” minors gaining access to the gaming floor.

The irony is, of course, delicious, given Sands’ owner Sheldon Adelson’s oft-repeated mantra that online gambling sites should be banned because they lack the capacity to determine whether their customers are old enough to legally wager.

As videos produced by the Adelson-funded Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) make clear, “don’t let anyone tell you that there’s technology that can fully protect our children” from finding ways to gamble online. But if those kids also want to drink booze, they’ll have to go to Sands Bethlehem.