The Bethlehem Sands Casino in Pennsylvania has once again been hit with a fine by state gaming regulators for permitting minors to gamble on the casino floor.
The Sands is headed by CEO Sheldon Adelson, who has made it his mission to prevent the spread of regulated online gambling in the U.S. via his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. Adelson has often espoused the view that there are not adequate safeguards in place to keep under-aged gamblers from gaining access to online gaming sites.
The Sands received an $85,000 fine Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the fifth such penalty in the last five years. The fine encompasses six incidents in which minors were able to gamble illegally for a time before casino employees analyzed their identification to a greater extent than previously done by casino security guards upon entering the gaming establishment.
In each of these incidents, after an initial mistake by a security officer, another [casino employee] noticed the person on the floor and challenged them,” Sands’ attorney Fred Kraus told The Morning Call. “It was the result of the subsequent challenge that led to the discovery and the self-reporting of each incident.”
The six instances of under-aged gambling occurred between June, 2013 and January of this year. Two of those involved gamblers as young as 17 and another found a 19-year-old also drinking alcohol while shooting craps.
Sands Casino has now paid $305,000 in fines for allowing youngsters to gamble on the casino floor since its 2009 grand opening. In 2010, six incidents resulted in a $48,000 fine, the same amount was levied in 2012 for four violations, and a total of 10 instances were recorded last year that received two separate penalties of $68,000 and $56,000.
The Bethlehem Sands employs almost 3,000 workers in hotel, restaurant and casino positions. It has paid close to $900 million in taxes since opening its doors.
Despite Adelson’s objections, Pennsylvania is seriously considering legalizing online gambling. A gambling study commissioned by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee was recently the focus of a hearing among lawmakers. And a state legislator has promised to formally introduce an online poker bill later this month.