Pennsylvania Bans Gamblers Who Left Children Unattended at Casinos

Posted on: July 27, 2023, 02:22h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2023, 03:05h.

Pennsylvania regulators this week banned seven individuals from casinos in the commonwealth because they had previously left children unattended while they were inside gambling.

Harrah's Philadelphia unattended children Pennsylvania
A stock photo of children sleeping in a vehicle. Pennsylvania regulators this week banned seven adults for leaving children unattended while they were gambling inside casinos. (Image: Flickr)

The latest exclusions handed down by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board add to a lengthy list of adults who neglect children while attending casinos, a problem regulators are trying to reduce in Pennsylvania and other states.

The Board’s actions serve as a reminder that adults are prohibited from leaving minors unattended in the parking lot or garage, a hotel, or other venues at a casino since it creates a potentially unsafe and dangerous environment for the children,” the board said in a statement. “Leaving minors unattended at a Pennsylvania casino also subjects the offending adult to criminal prosecution in addition to exclusion from all Pennsylvania casinos.”

The board has established a “Don’t Gamble With Kids” website to raise awareness of the issue.

Youngsters Left Alone for Hours

The seven instances detailed by the board this week involved children ranging in age from 11 months to 13 years old being left alone in casino hotel rooms or parking garages for periods ranging from 10 minutes to several hours. Incidents were recorded at Mt. Airy Casino Resort, Rivers Casino Philadelphia, Live! Philadelphia Hotel and Casino, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, and Parx Casino Bensalem.

Most of the incidents involved children being left alone in a car for less than an hour while an adult visited a casino or sportsbook, but some were unattended for hours.

One man and woman were banned after leaving a 9-year-old alone in a hotel room at Mt. Airy multiple times, totaling nearly eight hours over a two-and-a-half day span.

In another case, a man left an 11-month-old child unattended in a vehicle at Rivers Casino Philadelphia for 42 minutes while he played table games.

Hundreds of Cases

The board said it has identified a total of 397 incidents since the beginning of last year in which a total of 633 children were left alone while their parents or guardians went into a casino. Not all of those incidents resulted in bans, a gaming board spokesman told; each case is decided based on its own circumstances.

A total of 182 people total have been placed on Pennsylvania’s involuntary exclusion list so far, the spokesman said.

Three Casinos Fined

Regulators also fined two casinos for allowing underage individuals to place bets, and a third casino for failing to properly train employees.

The penalties handed totaled $67,500 and were negotiated in consent agreements with the offending parties.

Mohegan Pennsylvania operator Downs Racing, L.P., received the largest fine of $50K for allowing individuals under 21 to access the gaming floor. One individual was able to gamble multiple times and another was served alcohol, despite being under 21.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh operator Holdings Acquisiton LP received a $10K fine for allowing someone under 21 to access the gaming floor. Rivers Casino Philadelphia operator Sugarhouse HSP Gaming LP received a $7,500 fine for allowing an untrained employee to deal roulette.