FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23rd, 2011

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
P.O. Box 69060
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9060

CONTACT

Doug Harbach or Richard McGarvey (717) 346-8321

Gaming Control Board Fines Casinos $72,000 For Violations

HARRISBURG, PA: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today fined Presque Isle Downs, Inc., operator of Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie County, $52,000 for three instances of permitting underage persons onto the gaming floor and for permitting a patron on the Self-Excluded List to play slot machines and collect a jackpot.

Additionally, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., operator of Parx Casino in Bucks County, received a fine of $20,000 for removing slot machines without the proper authorization by the Gaming Control Board.

The Board unanimously approved a consent agreement negotiated by the Office of Enforcement Counsel for the 2010 violations at Presque Isle Downs.  While it was the first violation involving a self-excluded person at the Summit Township casino, it had been fined by the Board on one other occasion, $15,000 in October 2010 for two incidents involving underage gambling.

It is also not the first fines levied by the Board for violations by casinos of the self-exclusion regulations. Since December 2009, the board has fined three other casinos a total of $75,000 for 8 other violations involving self-excluded persons.

The three violations involving underage patrons resulted in fines of $47,000. These included:

  • August 7, 2010 - a 20-year-old male accessed the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines for approximately 35 minutes.
  • October 13, 2010 - a 20-year-old female accessed the gaming floor for approximately two hours and 30 minutes.
  • November 24, 2010 - a 19-year-old male accessed the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines for approximately one hour and 15 minutes and consumed alcoholic beverages.

The self-exclusion violation resulted in a $5,000 fine, occurred on May 21, 2010, 13 months after an individual was placed on the PGCB’s Self-Exclusion list for 1-year but prior to him requesting removal. The PGCB’s Self-Exclusion Program, established in late 2006 permits problem gamblers to ban themselves from gambling at Pennsylvania casinos for 1-year, 5-years or a lifetime. Individuals are not automatically removed from the list once the term of the exclusion ends, but must request removal by the Board. Until that time, the person remains on the list and cannot gamble at a Pennsylvania casino.

Once a person is placed on the Self-Exclusion list, gaming facilities in the Commonwealth must:

  • Refuse wagers from and deny any gaming privileges to a self-excluded person;
  • Deny check cashing privileges, player club membership, complimentary goods and services, junket participation and other similar privileges and benefits to a self-excluded person; 
  • Ensure that self-excluded persons do not receive junket solicitations, targeted mailings, telemarketing promotions, player club materials or other promotional materials relating to gaming activities at its licensed facility; and,
  • Notify the Pennsylvania State Police of violations of the ban. A self-excluded individual who violates the ban will be subject to arrest and charged with trespass.

Currently, more than 2,200 individuals have self-excluded from Pennsylvania casinos.

In this instance at Presque Isle, the individual played slot machines for approximately 40 minutes and was paid a jackpot of $2,001.20. He then played slot machines for 20 more minutes. Only later did Presque Isle personnel notice the jackpot payment was to a self-excluded person. The casino subsequently reported the error to the PGCB’s Bureau of Casino Compliance.

The fine against Greenwood Gaming stemmed from a violation of the Gaming Act wherein 10 slot machines were moved without proper authorization. The board imposed a $2,000 per machine fine, and Parx agreed to institute preventive measures to prevent this type of violation from occurring again.

The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is Thursday, April 14, 2011 at the North Office Building, Hearing Room 1 in Harrisburg. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. An agenda for that meeting will be posted on the Board’s web site, www.pgcb.state.pa.us, prior to the meeting.

About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was established in 2004 with the passage of Act 71, also known as the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Pennsylvania’s first new state agency in nearly 40 years, the Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state’s casino industry. Currently, the ten casinos in operation in the Commonwealth employ over 14,000 living persons. Casino gaming is also providing the revenue for property tax reduction, funds that have reinvigorated Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry, and a new stream of tax revenue to local governments that is funding community projects. A wealth of information about the Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania’s gaming industry can be found at www.pgcb.state.pa.us. At this web site, visitors can view videos of Board meetings and on the operation of the PGCB, obtain information on identifying a gambling problem and gaining assistance, look up future meeting schedules and past meeting transcripts, access an interactive map of casino locations, request a speaker for their group, along with much more information.

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