The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Approves Fines Totaling $355,000
Violations Involve Three Casinos and a Manufacturer
HARRISBURG, PA: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today levied fines totaling $355,000 that involved 19 instances of underage gaming, and six regulatory violations involving slot machines or software that had yet to be approved.
The fines were the result of consent agreements between the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel and four gaming license holders , including three casino operators:
- Mount Airy #1 LLC, operator of Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County;
- Holdings Acquisition Co., L.P., operator of the Rivers Casino in Allegheny County;
- Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, operator of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse in Dauphin County; and,
- WMS Gaming, Inc. of Illinois.
The total amount of fines was the most levied by the Board at a single meeting.
“While we certainly have a responsibility to work with casinos and maximize the revenue and jobs that benefit Pennsylvanians, our most important responsibility is to protect the public by ensuring that casinos are adhering to the law and regulations,” Gaming Control Board Chairman Greg Fajt says. “In these instances, it was imperative that the Board act in a manner that clearly tells those companies that have been given the privilege of holding a Pennsylvania gaming license that violations are both unacceptable and have consequences.”
The approved consent agreement with Mount Airy results in a $160,000 fine. The action was the result of seven incidents, all occurring on February 19, 2011, in which seven underage individuals, six of those minors aged either 16 or 17, gained access to the gaming floor. Six of those individuals also participated in table games play.
The Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act provides that it is unlawful for persons under 21 years of age to wager, play or attempt to play slot machines or table games, nor enter and remain in any area of a licensed facility where slot machines are operated or the play of table games is conducted.
This was the second consent agreement between the PGCB and Mount Airy involving underage gaming, the previous occurring in March 2010 when six underage incidents resulted in a $100,000 fine.
The fines levied against Holdings Acquisition totaled $150,000 and were the result of 11 instances of permitting underage gaming and five incidents in which slot machines were erroneously put into play.
The underage violations resulted in an $80,000 fine for violations that occurred between March and June of 2011:
- March 6, 2011 – a 18-year-old female gained access to the gaming floor and played slot machines for approximately 59 minutes;
- April 9, 2011 – it was discovered that a male patron, upon attempting to request a duplicate players card on the day of his 21st birthday, was underage when he obtained the original card in September 2010. An investigation found that this person had engaged in table games play on nine different days between September 2010 and April 2011 when he was a 20-year-old;
- June 21, 2011 – a 19-year-old male gained access to the gaming floor and played slot machines for approximately 57 minutes.
This was the third consent agreement between the PGCB and Holdings Acquisition involving underage gaming. One was approved in January 2010 for two underage incidents and resulted in a $16,000 fine. The other was in February of this year for seven incidents in which Holdings Acquisitions agreed to a $105,000 fine.
Holding s Acquisition also received a $70,000 fine as a result of four incidents between May 29, 2010 and December 5, 2010 where slot machines were placed into service at the Rivers Casino without proper testing and certification by the Board’s Gaming Lab. Under PGCB regulations, “a slot machine that offers either a new progressive jackpot or a modification of an existing progressive jackpot may not be made available for play by the public until the slot machine has been tested and certified by the Bureau of Gaming Laboratory Operations.” While that regulation was violated in these incidents, no patron was affected adversely by these violations.
The fifth incident that was part of the consent agreement with Holdings Acquisition was a violation of regulations “that each slot machine directly provides or communicates all required activities and financial details” to the Commonwealth’s Central Control Computer System. In this January 29, 2011 incident, a slot machine was put into service at the Rivers Casino without that proper communication, though the proper gross tax revenue due the Commonwealth was later calculated and paid by the casino.
The approval of the consent agreement with Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association resulted in a $40,000 fine for permitting a 20-year-old to play both table games and a slot machine on November 30, 2010 for more than two hours at its Hollywood Casino facility in Dauphin County.
This was the second time fines were levied against Mountainview for underage gaming violations since its license received a three-year renewal in January 2010. In October of 2010, Mountainview received fines totaling $40,000 for three violations.
The Board also approved a consent agreement with WMS Gaming, Inc. that resulted in a $5,000 fine against the Illinois-based gaming manufacturer for shipping slot machine software to Presque Isle Downs and Casinos that had yet to be tested or approved by the PGCB’s Gaming Laboratory. The software, however, was properly identified as unapproved at the casino prior to being offered for public play.
The next meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2011 in Hearing Room 1 of the North Office Building in Harrisburg. The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the public is invited.
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 people and legalized gaming has generated $5.3 billion in tax and license fee revenue since the first casino opened in November 2006. A portion of that money is enabling property tax reduction for all Pennsylvania homeowners, providing needed funding to the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry, funding grants for fire companies and water/sewer projects, and establishing a new stream of tax revenue to local governments for 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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