Two casinos in the US state of Pennsylvania were slapped with fines this past week totaling $160,000. The fines were levied by the state’s Gaming Control Board (GCB) after its Office of Enforcement Counsel reached an agreement with the two offenders. The fines come as a result of “various infractions” found at both venues.
In a GCB press release, the agency said that it had fined Washington Trotting Association, Inc. $80,000. The penalty was a result of an investigation at the company’s The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, which found that employees at the racetrack had issued over $830,000 in complimentary services over an eight-year period starting in 2009.
According to state law, only select employees are authorized to provide complimentary services, and a cap is in place on how much can be awarded. The authorizations are part of any facility’s internal controls, which are approved by the GCB.
Another $80,000 in fines was given to the Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, L.P., which operates the Valley Forge Casino Resort. One fine in the amount of $50,000 was levied for several infractions, including “Failure to safeguard its revenues and assets” and “Failure to maintain reliable and accurate financial records, including ensuring access, record and compare its assets, conducting regular audits and ensuring segregation of audit functions and responsibilities.”
The issues came to light after an employee tried to fraudulently collect reimbursements in connection to his employment. That employee is also facing criminal charges.
An additional $30,000 fine was given for non-compliance of guidelines. According to the GCB, the operator was found guilty of not following its framework and rules governing Spanish 21, a type of blackjack.
Pennsylvania currently has ten stand-alone and racetrack casinos, in addition to two small resort casinos. They provide approximately $1.4 billion in tax revenue to the state each year, the majority of which is used to reduce property owners’ property taxes in the state.
The state is one of the few in the US to have already approved sports gambling. However, many expected the exorbitant licensing and tax scheme to keep many players away. Nonetheless, Penn National is willing to roll the dice. At the end of last week, it was announced that the operator will team up with William Hill and pay the $10-million licensing fee to offer a sportsbook in the state. In doing so, it is also acknowledging that it doesn’t object to the 36% tax rate Pennsylvania is charging.