Another month, another round of fines dealt out by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) like penny-ante poker chips. Only this times around, it seems one brand in particular – SugarHouse HSP Gaming, L.P. – has been naughtier than the rest.
$95,000 worth of naughty, to be exact.
Regulatory violations, compromised decks, and bears, oh my!
The PGCB Office of Enforcement Counsel meets every month to discuss, among a number of other things, fines. They are also known as consent agreements because they settle disputes between two parties without requiring an admission of guilt or liability.
This month, it was SugarHouse who came up questionable.
$85,000 of the $95,000 in total fines slapped on SugarHouse came about as a result of house dealers’ failure to properly address automated shuffler warnings at table games. The result?
All told though, the fines levied against SugarHouse were actually the result of two separate violations. The second violation, totaling the remaining $10,000, came about because the casino was not compliant with its PGCB-approved rules and guidelines for Spanish 21 blackjack, also resulting in the use of compromised decks during gameplay.
This isn’t the first time SugarHouse has faced a fairly hefty PGCB fine.
Why so sloppy, SugarHouse?
It might come as a surprise to some (and definitely not a surprise to others) that this isn’t the first time SugarHouse Philly has drawn a penalty worth more than most Pennsylvania resident’s annual take-home.
In January of this year, in fact, SugarHouse earned itself a whopping $100,000 fine from the PGCB.
The issue then?
Underage gaming. Specifically, underage gaming by unidentified “athletes from nationally ranked universities” in the area.
In a 16-page consent order, it was revealed that the University of Pennsylvania was among the schools with students embroiled in the controversy.
SugarHouse did their best to explain the transgressions. The casino said it installed new scanners for checking IDs. Additionally, SugarHouse said it now instructs security guards to not just check IDs, but ask something specific, like what a customer’s Zodiac sign should be.
Is SugarHouse being targeted?
The $100,000 fine was one of the largest ever levied in Pennsylvania gaming history. It was the largest fine since 2011 and the largest ever levied against SugarHouse.
Last year, SugarHouse earned itself $85,000 in fines across four separate consent agreements. Put it all together, and it’s fair to wonder if SugarHouse is possibly earning more than its fair share of wrist slaps.
The truth is, PGCB’s monthly meetings in Harrisburg produce plenty of perpetrators and plenty of penalties.
In June of 2018, for example, PGCB handed out nearly $500,000 in fines to a casino operator and “three other firms that provide gaming services.”
Two fines stemmed from the same issue regarding a purchase license. Another involved circumvention of licensing requirements. A fine was levied for giving out too much free slot play. And the last involved late filings.
SugarHouse’s transgressions may be more glaring, but in the end, they’re not all that out-of-the-ordinary.
Let’s just hope that with sports betting now legal in Pennsylvania, those “athletes from nationally ranked universities” are staying away from the casino floor—and the bookie.