Posted on: December 15, 2022, 10:24h.
Last updated on: December 15, 2022, 10:26h.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is trying to crack down on incidences involving gamblers leaving children in vehicles outside casinos while they gamble. The state’s latest response is its most drastic to date.
The PGCB this week announced that it’s placing five individuals on the state’s Involuntary Exclusion List for leaving children unattended in vehicles. The board said the exclusion decisions were made at the recommendation of the PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC).
Though not a problem limited to Pennsylvania, the commonwealth has seen a drastic uptick in the number of occurrences involving unattended children being left in automobiles while their parents or guardians patronize a casino.
The PGCB last month launched a public service announcement called “Don’t Gamble with Kids.” The campaign is to warn gamblers about the dangers of leaving a child in an unattended vehicle.
“Even if you win, someone still loses,” a narrator says in one of the commercial spots.
Unattended Children a Major Problem
The board says casino security and law enforcement responded to 171 reports of children being left in vehicles outside casinos in 2021. The 171 incidents involved 279 minors.
Things have only worsened this year, as the PGCB says 285 incidences involving 464 minors have been reported this year. Along with possible criminal charges, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle can now result in the culprit being banned from casinos in the commonwealth.
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 PGCB said. “Leaving minors unattended at a Pennsylvania casino also subjects the offending adult to criminal prosecution in addition to exclusion from all Pennsylvania casinos.”
The PGCB says two of its newly banned persons — a male and a female — left two children, aged 11 and 13, in their vehicle in the Presque Isle Downs & Casino parking lot. The children were left in the locked running vehicle with outside temperatures around 46 degrees Fahrenheit while the adults gambled on a slot machine inside.
Another male was placed on the Involuntary Exclusion List after he left an eight-year-old in a locked, non-running vehicle outside the same casino last summer when temperatures were nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The child was locked in the car for at least 18 minutes with the windows up while the adult placed bets at the sportsbook.
The two other newly banned individuals left two kids aged five and 14 in an unattended running vehicle outside Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. The incident occurred last summer during the day when temperatures were reported at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. An adult male and female who were responsible for the children were surveilled gambling for 35 minutes.
In other PGCB news, the board fined BetMGM $7,500 for wrongly taking bets on a boxing match between Victor Belfort and Evander Holyfield.
The state had told its licensed sportsbook operators that the Sept. 11, 2021, exhibition fight was prohibited from action. BetMGM took 76 unauthorized wagers on the bout.