Gamblers leaving children unattended continues to be a problem at PA casinos. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board added four more individuals to the Involuntary Exclusion List for that specific offense. The list bars those patrons from entering or gambling at PA casinos indefinitely.
In a particularly egregious offense, a male casino patron left an infant and other children unattended for over an hour.
While it’s not a new problem, it is a growing one. The addition and expansion of PA casinos, along with additional betting options, has resulted in an increase in incidents. The PGCB counted the highest number of cases yet in 2022.
In a press release, the PGCB updated the number of incidents from the last 12 months. Last year, there were 303 cases of adults leaving children unattended while gambling at Pennsylvania casinos. Those incidents involved 486 minors.
Additions to the PGCB Involuntary Exclusion List
- A male patron, AGG, left five children in the food court of Valley Forge Casino Resort for an hour and 12 minutes. The other children included an infant, a one-year-old, a nine-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old.
- A male patron, MM, left a 12-year-old unattended in a vehicle in the parking lot of Valley Forge for five minutes while gambling at the sportsbook.
- A male patron, ZJ, left a 13-year-old unattended in a vehicle in the Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack’s parking garage for 15 minutes while gambling at the sportsbook. The man initially attempted to bring the child into the casino, but security turned them away.
- A female patron, SS, left a two-year-old and a 14-year-old unattended in a vehicle in the parking lot of Mohegan Pennsylvania Casino for over two hours while she gambled at slot machines.
According to the press release, two female adults who were placed on the list in 2020 requested to be removed. The PGCB denied their requests. The board placed the two on the list for separate incidents involving a total of three children left unattended.
PGCB tackling the problem with an awareness campaign
The problem has become so serious in PA that the PGCB launched the “Don’t Gamble with Kids” awareness campaign. It consists of TV and radio spots, printed material and social media posts bringing attention to the issue. The campaign’s website, DontGambleWithKids.org, features lots of information and resources for how to help.
Adults who leave kids unattended can be charged with crimes, including endangering the welfare of children or more serious offenses. Of course, the main concern is the safety of children involved.
The PGCB’s Executive Director, Kevin O’Toole, reiterated this notion in a November press release, saying:
“More important than any liability faced by these adults, however, is the safety of these children. The welfare and safety of the minors is at the heart of the Board’s campaign and all adults should consider this before deciding to leave a child unattended.”
In addition to the many reasons why most adults wouldn’t leave children unattended in the presence of strangers, less obvious dangers abound. Left in automobiles, children are susceptible to extreme temperatures, whether in winter or summer months.
According to the PA Department of Health, heatstroke is the second-leading cause of vehicle-related deaths for children. Only actual crashes have caused more deaths.
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