Sands Bethlehem has been fined $36,000 by the state of Pennsylvania for alleged underage gambling violations.
The Sands violations
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced the violations via its website this week. From the PGCB:
A fine of $36,000 was levied against Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC for three instances in which individuals under the age of 21 gained access to the casino floor and gambled:
• A 20-year-old female was on the gaming floor for a period of one hour and 50 minutes on August 29, 2015 and wagered on a slot machine;
• A 19-year-old male was on the gaming floor for a period of two hours and 23 minutes on August 17, 2015 and wagered at multiple table games;
• A 19-year-old female was on the gaming floor for a period of four hours and 45 minutes on August 16, 2015 and wagered at multiple slot machines.
No other fines for underage gambling were levied against any other Pennsylvania casino. A fine was issued to Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh for an automatic shuffler error.
A report at LehighValleyLive.com had more details on the violations, and other Sands Bethlehem violations in the past:
The previous underage-gambling fines paid by the Sands were $48,000 for six violations under an order dated June 10, 2010; $48,000 for four violations, ordered May 23, 2012; $68,000 plus the $2,500 investigative fee for six violations, ordered March 13, 2013; $56,000 plus $2,500 fee for four violations, ordered Sept. 18, 2013; and $85,000 plus $2,500 fee for seven violations, ordered June 11, 2014.
Underage violations from an Adelson property?
Given the stance of Sheldon Adelson — the owner of Sands Bethlehem and a variety of other casinos around the world — on online gambling, the fines are pretty ironic.
Adelson’s lobbyists and politicians who support the Restoration of America’s Wire Act — a bill to ban online gaming — contend that children could gamble online if it were easily accessible. For instance, from the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling website:
Underage Gambling: It will be nearly impossible to prevent minors from gambling online. State regulatory agencies will be unable to prevent adults from allowing minors to play on their accounts. States will have little incentive to bar participation by minors living in other states, and could allow college students to gamble online by setting the minimum age at 18 years old.
That assessment has little merit based on the experiences of the regulated online poker and casino markets in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
Seeing as underage gambling a major point of contention in the fight against allowing regulated online gaming, one would think Adelson’s brick-and-mortar gaming establishments would have a sterling track record on the subject. However, that is obviously not the case.
The latest on online gambling in PA
Online gambling appears to be a part of ongoing budget discussions in the state, although to what extent is unknown.
At worst, it appears that online gambling will be considered in the spring, apart from budget talks.