Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, one of the most successful gambling halls in the Keystone State was on Wednesday slapped with a $235,000 fine for two violations of the state’s gaming laws. Of the total amount, $230,000 will be for civil penalties for having allowed underage patrons to place bets at their Bethlehem facility and for excessive free slot play.
The casino is to pay $122,500 to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for allowing people under the age 21 to enter their Bethlehem facility and place bets. As it turns out, the underage gamblers who mostly participated in slot machine gaming managed to enter the facility using either fake or borrowed identification – some reportedly even slipped past the security guards undetected. Naturally, the casino has since taken action by subjecting a number of security personnel, servers and cashiers to varying degrees of disciplinary action for failing to spot the underage gamers.
Here is a brief overview of all the infractions related to underage gambling that were listed in the PGCB’s statement:
- An 18-year-old female wagered at slot machines.
- Another 18-year-old female wagered at slot machines.
- An 18-year-old female wagered at table games and was served alcohol.
- A 19-year-old female wagered at slot machines.
- A 19-year-old male wagered at slot machines.
- Another 19-year-old male wagered at slot machines.
- A 20-year-old male wagered at table games and was served alcohol.
- A 19-year-old male gained access onto the gaming floor and wagered at slot machines.
- A 20-year-old female wagered at slot machines and was served alcohol.
- A 20-year-old male wagered at slot machines.
- A 20-year-old male gained access onto the gaming floor on two separate days and wagered table games and was served alcohol.
This seems to be a recurring problem for Sands since even though it has been a while since the casino came under fire for such issues – before the recent penalty, the last time that the casino had been fined was in July 2017 when it was found that underage people managed to gamble and drink at the facility.
Since then, the casino operator has upped its game to ensure that people below the age to 21 do not gain access into the casino. In 2017, for instance, they added an ID reading system.
Unauthorized Free Slots
Sands is also going to pay $112,500 for allowing its employees to award unauthorized free slots play on over “6,428 occasions in 2015 and 2016.” The free slot play awarded in the state period reported totaled to a whopping $1.05 million. Free slots play has been a thorny issue for a very long time especially because they are used to build and reward customer loyalty in order to encourage repeat visits – this is definitely unfair competition as it would patronize other gaming facilities that do not offer the same.