PGCB Fines Casino Operator For Underage Gambling And Security Lapses
Casino makes improvements to prevent future problems
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today assessed Harrah's Chester Downs and Marina, LLC (Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack) two fines totaling $30,000 for permitting an underage individual to play a slot machine and for having areas of the gaming floor unmonitored by casino security staff.
In addition to the fines, Harrah's will make a $5,000 donation to the Problem Gaming Education and Outreach Fund.
The underage slots gambling penalty of $20,000 is a result of an incident in March 2008, in which a person under the age of 18 gained access to the gaming floor, played slot machines and cashed in a voucher. After being approached by Harrah's security personnel and producing a bogus ID, the individual was evicted from the facility.
The unmonitored area of the gaming floor fine of $10,000 stems from incidents observed in 2007 and 2008 where casino security staff was not physically present in security zones within the facility. The gaming floor at the facility is divided into six zones for security purposes and in accordance with internal controls; each zone must be physically monitored by a security officer at all times.
A total of six occasions were observed by PGCB staff, three each in 2007 and 2008. "Pennsylvania casinos have a statutory obligation to keep underage individuals off the gaming floor," said Mary DiGiacomo Colins, Gaming Control Board Chair. "The corrective actions approved by the Board today make it clear to all casinos that underage age gambling will not be tolerated."
Colins added that the incident has helped Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack to implement some important changes to better prevent these types of incidents from occurring in the future. These changes including:
• Chester Downs will modify its gaming floor to eliminate all juvenile pathways designated for underage pedestrian passage across the gaming floor. As a result, no individuals under the age of 21 will be permitted to cross Chester Downs' gaming floor for any purpose;
• Minors are no longer permitted to enter, dine or remain at restaurants bordering the gaming floor;
• Employees are rewarded for identifying and reporting minors on the gaming floor;
• Monthly contests and quizzes on all areas of responsible gaming are conducted to test the knowledge of front line employees;
• Three additional license verification machines have been placed in strategic locations to ensure responsible gaming;
• Stanchions have been erected on the border of certain sections of the gaming floor to slow access to those areas;
• An additional security officer has been posted at the front of the gaming floor during peak operation hours, and a simulcast officer will be posted at the bottom of the escalator bay during peak hours to question individuals and check identification.
• With regard to unmonitored security zones, the facility has instituted policies and provided training to emphasize the importance of full zone coverage and security officer breaks and coverage procedures;
• The surveillance department will conduct hourly call-in zone checks, confirming floor locations by camera;
• Security managers will conduct roving timekeeping and zone coverage audits, and
• Verify locations of security officers within their designated zones with the assistance of digital recording technology requiring physical contact between security officer and security manager.
Under its duty to protect the public through the regulation and policing of all activities involving gaming, the Board acts to take enforcement action after the Office of Enforcement Counsel investigates any matters involving either transgressions of the law or the Gaming Act.
For more information about the PA Gaming Control Board, you can visit its website at www.pgcb.state.pa.us.
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