Massachusetts’ MGM Springfield Fined $18K for Underage Player Incidents Since Christmas

Posted on: March 27, 2021, 03:13h. 

Last updated on: March 28, 2021, 01:08h.

MGM Springfield was fined $18,000 recently by Massachusetts regulators for allowing underage patrons on the casino floor over the prior few months. One of the minors also got a free alcoholic drink.

MGM Springfield cooperated with Massachusetts regulators on the violations
MGM Springfield entrance sign shown here. The gaming property was decorated for Christmas. Since the recent holiday, the casino was found to have allowed three underage patrons onto the gaming floor. (Image: Gateway Mavens)

The incidents took place on Dec. 25, Dec. 31, and Jan. 20. Altogether, there were three confirmed violations.

On Christmas Day, a 17-year-old was on the casino floor for about two hours, State House News Service reported. The teen also was served a complementary alcoholic drink.

It was only after the teen tried to cash out his or her winnings that casino officials discovered the mistake. A cashier promptly notified a security officer. The teenager was removed from the gaming property, State House News said.

The gaffe took place after security guards assigned to the entrance to the casino floor failed to ask for an ID from the teen, the report adds.

The same thing happened on New Year’s Eve, when security officers failed to ask for the ID. On that date, an 18-year-old went onto the gaming floor.

The teenager played 11 slot machines for a total of about 90 minutes. A cocktail server asked to see the teen’s ID before serving the player a drink, which led to the server notifying security officers.

The third incident, which took place on Jan. 20, occurred after a 20-year-old got onto the casino floor. The person’s ID was scanned and shown to be invalid. But the 20-year-old was still allowed into the gaming area.

The 20-year-old remained on the casino floor for about 90 minutes. That was sufficient time to play three hands of blackjack. Eventually, a dealer at a table asked to see an ID.

Under Massachusetts law, no one under 21 is allowed on a casino gaming floor. The minimum age to drink alcohol is also 21.

Players Must Lower Face Masks at Security Checks

Now, with the required wearing of face masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19, players or visitors to a Massachusetts casino floor must lower their masks when passing by security staff at an entrance.

Security staff must ask for ID from anyone who appears under 30 years of age, Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) officials were quoted by State House News.

In announcing the incidents, the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB) said MGM Springfield “made timely notification of each instance.

“MGM Springfield has fully cooperated with regulators throughout this process and is taking proactive steps to remedy this matter,” the MGC said in a recent statement.

MGM Springfield must also file a plan that will spell out improved compliance with underage gambling and drinking prohibitions. It is to include additional training of security staff and table dealers.

In addition, MGM Springfield internally disciplined its employees for their improper actions in the three recent incidents, State House News said. The casino is also stressing to workers the importance of ID compliance.

The $18,000 fine is a civil administrative penalty. It was mutually agreed upon and MGM waived its right to have a hearing on the incidents.

Prior Underage Penalties

This is not the first penalty against MGM Springfield for underage gambling. In May 2019, MGM Springfield was fined $100,000 in connection with 22 alleged incidents of underage players on the casino floor.

“The MGC takes seriously our obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of underage persons and minors,” Loretta Lillios, IEB director, said in the MGC’s recent statement. “We appreciate MGM Springfield’s commitment to taking all necessary steps to ensure that underage persons and minors do not access the gaming floor.”

Lillios was appointed to her new IEB post in January. She has worked at the MGC since 2014.

First, she was deputy general counsel and then chief enforcement counsel/deputy director of IEB. She was interim director of the IEB since last September until her permanent appointment to the position.