Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino Jackpot Won by Self-Excluded Individual

Posted on: September 2, 2022, 11:02h. 

Last updated on: September 2, 2022, 11:18h.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino wrongly allowed a woman access who had previously self-excluded herself from all commercial gaming establishments in the commonwealth.

Harrah's Philadelphia Casino self-exclusion Pennsylvania
A security guard surveys the Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino floor. Pennsylvania State Police says the Caesars Entertainment property allowed a banned individual to gamble last month. (Image: Casino.org)

The Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Gaming Enforcement revealed in its August blotter that a 59-year-old woman from Ridley Park — which is less than two miles from Harrah’s — was able to make her way through security at the casino operated by Caesars Entertainment despite being on the state’s self-exclusion list.

Law enforcement says the woman proceeded to play slot machines during the early morning hours of August 26. At around 12:22 am EST, the woman reportedly hit a slot machine jackpot. But since she’s on the self-exclusion list and therefore not supposed to be on a casino floor, she tried to exit the property without collecting the winnings.

Casino security tracked her down on her way out, only to discover that she was a prohibited person. State police did not reveal how large the jackpot was, nor when the woman decided to exclude herself from gambling in Pennsylvania.

Harrah’s Philadelphia is in the suburbs of Chester. The casino is owned by Caesars’ real estate investment trust VICI Properties. The 100,000-square-foot gaming floor is occupied by 1,700 slots, more than 100 table games, and a Caesars Sportsbook.

Responsible Gaming Safeguards

Every state that has legalized commercial gambling has implemented an array of programs and resources to help gamblers play responsibly. And a pillar of responsible gaming is self-exclusion.

Self-exclusion allows a person to request to be excluded from legalized gaming activities within a casino and offsite venues, online, at video gaming terminal (VGT) establishments, or on fantasy contests,” the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) said. “Individuals who enroll in self-exclusion are prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses or accepting complimentary gifts or services or any other thing of value from a licensee or operator.”

In Pennsylvania, the person enrolling for exclusion determines the length of his or her ban. State police say the 59-year-old who was wrongly given access to Harrah’s Casino had opted for a lifetime ban.

The PGCB will likely impose a fine against Harrah’s Philadelphia for its regulatory infraction.

During the gaming regulator’s July meeting, the PGCB issued Live! Casino Pittsburgh a $7,500 fine for allowing a self-excluded person access. In that incident, a self-excluded individual not only was allowed to gamble at a table game, but also received a cash advance from the casino’s cashier cage.

“Pursuant to PGCB regulations, a casino must identify self-excluded patrons and refuse gaming privileges and other gaming-related activities such as the cashing of checks or cash advances,” the PGCB commented.

Self-Exclusion Confidential

Unlike casino black lists that involve state regulators banning individuals from gaming who are known to be bad actors, self-exclusion lists are typically kept confidential out of the public realm.

The PGCB maintains the self-exclusion list and only provides the Rolodex to its licensed casinos and gaming operators.

While the ban applies only to casinos inside Pennsylvania, some companies like Penn Entertainment maintain a company self-exclusion list across all of its properties. For example, the woman involved in the Harrah’s incident supposedly wouldn’t have access to Penn Entertainment casinos in Pennsylvania, nor its casinos anywhere else in the US.